I'm trying something gnu — come join in! Gnu Atheism Facebook group, hosted by Wonderist

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I'm trying something gnu — come join in! Gnu Atheism Facebook group, hosted by Wonderist

Anyone who is RRS at heart (like me) would probably fit right in with the Gnu Atheism group I started at Facebook. This new group is just the beginning of a new path of atheist activism I have shifted my focus onto. I have big ideas for the future. But for right now, I'm focusing on this Gnu Atheism group, which serves one basic purpose:

It is a place for gnu atheists—and gnu-friendly folk—to gather on Facebook and share their links, news, comments, media, and strategies for standing up to religious dogma, violence, and intolerance in the world.

This group is for:

  • Posting gnu-ish stuff.
  • Posting stuff about gnu atheists.
  • Posting stuff related to gnu atheism — or that dreadful accommodationism. <yecch! />
  • Posting not-actually-gnu-ish stuff that may anyway be of interest to gnus.
  • Gathering gnus around the watering hole, meeting like-minded gnus, and generally having a gnu-ish good time.
  • Eventually (soon!) doing something about that pesky religion problem.
  • Figuring out how to actually do that last one.

What's a 'gnu atheist'?!

The label is a pisstake on the whole meaningless label of 'New Atheists', who are only so-called 'new atheists' because that's what some people 'so'-called them, lacking any better descriptor at the time. Unfortunately/inevitably, the 'New Atheist' label quickly took on all the old baggage of the old 'atheist' stereotypes (e.g. rude, obnoxious, angry, militant, shrill, blah blah blah), and was picked up and applied in slimy pejorative ways by 'critics' of the recent upsurge in outspoken atheist activity.

After treading the same old ground over and over again, re-hashing the same lame straw men and false accusations, a bunch of us started making silly jokes and mocking the tired monotony of our erstwhile 'critics'. Around this time, someone hit upon the idea of calling ourselves 'gnu atheists'. For about a bazillion subtle and inter-connected reasons this sarcastic counter-label instantly became a hit among much of the atheosphere.

As it stands, the label 'gnu atheist' is an intentionally voluntary one. No one is a gnu atheist who doesn't choose to call themselves a gnu atheist. And though I'll give my own meaning to the term below, no one but you gets to decide what it means for you.

Why I call myself a gnu atheist

This is just my offering. It's not 'official', just something I think works really fucking nicely. In my view, a gnu atheist is an atheist (lacking theism), who is also:

Galvanized
Non-violent, and
Unapologetic

(ain't that just the purttiest thing y'all ever seen?)

So. Have the dangers of religion and faith-based reasoning galvanized you into becoming an active atheist? Are you dedicated to keeping this fight clean — by legal, ethical, and especially non-violent free speech, protest, and activism? Are you tired of walking on eggshells, holding back what you really think? Are you ready to make an out-in-the-open, unapologetic defense of science, reason, and simple atheism?

Well, then, you just may be a gnu atheist.

Why would a gnu atheist want to join a group?!

Simple. Gnus are independent creatures, individualists at heart. But they herd together when they are threatened, or when they need to help each other make a long journey. I think it's clear that we gnu atheists are facing just such a journey. We can use all the help we can get.

Myself, I'm proud to be a gnu. I think it's funny, fun, and freeing. I also think it works as an approach to activism, having seen it work many times in my own and other gnus' efforts.

I'll never tell you, "You're a gnu." At the end of the day, that decision is entirely up to you. But, if you're willing to work together on a worthy vision of a future where faith-based intolerance is a thing of the past, I'd be proud to be a gnu alongside you.

I Want Gnu

Requirements:

  • Obviously, you need a Facebook account. Fortunately, if you're cautious about it, you can make a pseudonymous account at FB and limit what information you represent there, in case you're protective of your offline identity. I'm doing fine so far: I leave out my location, exact birth date, etc., and haven't had any problems so far.
  • This is a closed-membership group, so you have to request to join or be invited/added by a friend on FB. However, most people will be accepted, provided they are not obvious trolls or antagonists to gnu atheism (they can host their beefs on their own groups).
  • It is not an atheist vs. theist group like RRS, so you won't be debating directly in the group (i.e. such debates will be sequestered and asked to be moved to some other group or site). However, because you'll be connected to so many other gnu atheists like yourself, you'll find plenty of links and other sites to try out your atheist arguments on. Obviously, you'll still want to be checking out RRS for the good stuff hosted here.

 

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Sounds great except for the

Sounds great except for the whole Facebook thing.  I don't have a FB account, nor do I want one.  I was part of the "online social networks" when it was a uber geek thing to do, back in the BBS and ICQ days.  Now that it is mainstream, it is just too difficult to avoid people that I would want to avoid IRL.  

 

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Ktulu wrote:Sounds great

Ktulu wrote:

Sounds great except for the whole Facebook thing.  I don't have a FB account, nor do I want one.

That's what Cpt_pineapple said, and I just saw her on FB yesterday! It's, like, the wave of the future, dude. Everyone's doin' it. lol

No probs. I understand your position. It took me ages to get on FB, too. But I took it slow, and I'm doing fine now with it.

Quote:
  I was part of the "online social networks" when it was a uber geek thing to do, back in the BBS and ICQ days.  Now that it is mainstream, it is just too difficult to avoid people that I would want to avoid IRL.

Honestly, if you set up an account specifically for one purpose (for me, atheist activism), and make it essentially pseudonymous (technically that's not allowed, but they don't seem to enforce it), then you can pretty much network with exactly, and only, those people you want to interact with. My online activism and offline real life do not overlap except exactly when I want them to, such as with my family members, whom I trust completely. I don't think you have to worry about it. In fact, it's actually quite a bit better than real life, in that way. It basically eliminates that problem.

(You can also have a second real account if you want to, with your real name, and completely isolated from your other account. I do that. But then you might run into the problem you describe. Still, you can simply not 'friend' people you don't want to interact with. And you can completely block them, too. It's better than what I was expecting. I'm also a veteran of the old BBS days. My first modem was 300 baud on a Commodore 64. Seriously.)

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Ktulu and I come from the

Ktulu and I come from the same background apparently since I was into ICQ, Trillian, still have AIM and Yahoo! IM.  Tried Myspace, hated it and had a FB account and deleted it because it was meaningless and downright drama oriented, not to mention the hidden monetary benefits you rake in for the scum bags involved with the service and it's creation.  Fuck Facebook.  I'm giving it my last go with Google+ because it's non-invasive, not swarming with the incredibly outrageous amounts of social parasites that Facebook has, and a much more user friendly layout among many other privacy things.  Make one on that service and I'll consider it.

 

By the way, it's not the "wave of the future" if it's already been done before in a more rudimentary way.  Facebook is internet pollution.

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


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Sage_Override wrote:By the

Sage_Override wrote:

By the way, it's not the "wave of the future" if it's already been done before in a more rudimentary way.  Facebook is internet pollution.

I think you missed the surfer-dude sarcasm there. Eye-wink

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 I joined the group but

 I joined the group but fwiw I use the term "new atheist" for myself.  I've always loved the term.  That's right I'm new!  Like new and improved!

 

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Sapient wrote: I joined the

Sapient wrote:

 I joined the group but fwiw I use the term "new atheist" for myself.  I've always loved the term.  That's right I'm new!  Like new and improved!

Fair enough. My beef with 'new' is that it doesn't actually identify anything 'new'. And this vagueness is exactly the thing that allows it to be picked up and moulded into whatever stereotyped meaning anti-atheists want it to mean. E.g. you'll hear this one over and over again, if you haven't already: What's really 'new' about these atheists anyways? None of their arguments are new. The only thing new I see them doing is being obnoxious, rude, blah blah blah. And therefore, that's what these New Atheists are, by definition.

Instead of arguing back and forth about definitions and what 'new' is "really" supposed to mean, gnu bypasses the whole thing by pointing a finger at it and saying, "Ha!"

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Sapient
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Quote:http://en.wikipedia.org

Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Atheism

New Atheism is the name given to a movement among some 21st-century atheist writers who have advocated the view that "religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.

If you want to fight a battle your time would be better spent correcting people who bastardize new atheism.  In the same way that all of us at one point have corrected someones definition of atheism.  

As a "Gnu" atheist you can point the finger back and say ha... but why?  It's them who are pointing at you.  They've somehow made you run from the word that is already commonly accepted to describe you.  They won. 

You've simply reset the cycle...

1 a term is formed to describe RRS members (new atheists)

2 the term starts to take hold

3 "new atheism" is commonly accepted and has common usage

4 those against atheists says something incorrect/disparaging about "new atheism" 

5 person abandons the term new atheism, and creates new term

6 gnu term must take hold, and considering how confusing the concept is, it'll take years for it to take hold

7 gnu term eventually gains acceptance as common usage 

8 those against atheists says something incorrect/disparaging about "gnu atheism"  

9 person creates new term to avoid "gnu atheism"

REPEAT CYCLE

 

I'd rather replace step 5 with a response to why the incorrect/disparaging person is wrong than to let the incorrect person spin me in circles making it harder for me to find others like me.  With every new word we make to describe atheists we become even more segmented.

I've been fighting for the proper usage of the word atheist for years.  It's up to us to take back the term, and our efforts have worked.  The word atheist is slowly becoming more understood, people can't as easily get away with lying about what an atheist is since we've pushed back.  The internet has worked wonders here.  We've had some big victories along the way.  10 years ago I can recall Bill Maher saying he wasn't an atheist, he was agnostic.  And in 2009, I'll never forget it, Maher started using the term atheist to describe himself.  His views about god never changed, but his understanding did.  That took time.  You're resetting the time cycle and starting over.  People aren't telling you, I guess they don't want to discourage you.  Go for it, but if successful you will have divided atheists yet again and will inevitably end up facing the exact same things you faced when deciding to create the term.  

It's easier to just correct people when wrong then to create a new word.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/Bill_Maher_atheist  <-- video and transcript of that first time

 

 

- Brian Sapient


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Quote:I've been fighting for

Quote:
I've been fighting for the proper usage of the word atheist for years.  It's up to us to take back the term, and our efforts have worked.  The word atheist is slowly becoming more understood, people can't as easily get away with lying about what an atheist is since we've pushed back

 

Bill Maher's newest Real Time episode addressed atheism in his closing remarks and also a hilarious "unbaptizing" of Mitt Romney's father-in-law after he's been dead for like ten years.  This was a really funny segment and it applies to what you're saying here.  I'll link the video, but these snippets I thought were really good.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8U_JveHS8E&feature=related

 

Quote:
Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.

Quote:
“We’re not two sides of the same coin, and you don’t get to put your "unreason" up on the same shelf with my reason. Your stuff has to go over there, on the shelf with Zeus and Thor and the Kraken, with the stuff that is not evidence-based, stuff that religious people never change their mind about, no matter what happens.  That's not atheism.”

 

 

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Sapient wrote:If you want to

Sapient wrote:

If you want to fight a battle your time would be better spent correcting people who bastardize new atheism.  In the same way that all of us at one point have corrected someones definition of atheism. 

New atheism is itself, already bastardized, right from the very beginning. The original Wired article took on a somewhat dismissive tone, and that was amplified by later 'critics'.

New atheism doesn't have a fixed meaning, despite the wikipedia effort to give it one.

Atheism has an obvious meaning. New atheism does not.

A-theism. Without-theism.

New-atheism. Uhhh, what's really 'new' about it? ... I dunno, I guess that they're annoying?

Your analogy with 'atheism' is weak. The better analogy is with 'materialism'.

The problem with the word materialism is that no matter how many frigging times you correct people, the next dualist you meet will still fuck it up again and again. And not only that, but self-proclaimed 'materialists' will fuck it up too, saying it means that only matter exists (or only matter/energy).

And that's just the beginning, because materialism has become associated with greed, shallowness, emptiness, consumerism, etc.

But that's not what modern materialism is. Modern materialism is scientific materialism, and it has nothing to do with buying shit you don't need, and it includes more than just matter/energy.

So, we re-label modern scientific materialism as 'physicalism', and problem solved: Not only do you instantly undercut all the red-herring accusations about hedonism and consumerism and existential dread, but you also eliminate the straw-man dismissal of naive materialism with such inanities as, "Well, the life force of living things isn't made of matter, so materialism is stupid."

Gnu is to new as physical is to material. The latters are vague, misleading, and laden with tons of baggage from stereotyping and cliche. The formers are unexpected, disarming, and specific, undercutting all the typical bullshit arguments.

So, when you say, "your time would be better spent correcting people who bastardize new atheism", I say, "Wrong. My time would be better spent actually attacking theism than in trying to correct misunderstandings about 'new atheism', which is vague and inconsistent in the first place."

Using gnu bypasses all that crap. I tell them I'm galvanized; they can't argue with that. I tell them I'm non-violent; that usually throws them way off-balance. I tell them I'm unapologetic; and now the burden has shifted directly onto them to show that I actually have something to apologize for. But the only way they can do that is if they try to impose their religious beliefs on me, and that's where they've lost the game. I've already won at that point. I just have to make sure the people watching the argument see why.

Quote:
As a "Gnu" atheist you can point the finger back and say ha... but why?

Because then they have nothing.

Quote:
  It's them who are pointing at you.

Exactly, pointing at me, with no evidence of anything wrong that I've done. And I point back at them and say, "Ha! You've got nothing!" And they stutter and stammer, and they've lost. Because they really don't have anything. In order to beat a gnu atheist, you actually have to prove that god exists.

Now, this is also true of the new atheist. To beat them, they have to prove god exists. But for hours and hours and days and days before that, they will run in circles talking about how nasty and mean all the new atheists are, and how you're just another example of that obnoxiousness.

Why not just cut to the chase and say, "The label you are using does not apply to me. You've got nothing on me. I've done nothing wrong, have nothing to apologize for. I'm innocent until proven guilty. So prove me guilty. Show me your god, and show me your evidence that my existence is a crime. ... Anyday now. Still nothing? Thought not. In the meantime, your religion sucks because of X, Y, Z."

Completely bypasses that nonsense about having to prove you're not a member of the nasty 'new atheists' before you can have a place at the table.

Quote:
They've somehow made you run from the word that is already commonly accepted to describe you.

Commonly accepted by who? I never accepted it. Maybe you did, but I didn't. It's not my term. It's theirs, and it does not refer to me.

Quote:
  They won.

No, they lose, because all their ramblings are directed at nothing. I have no defence to make because they have failed to make a valid accusation.

Quote:
You've simply reset the cycle...

No, it cuts the cycle.

Quote:
3 "new atheism" is commonly accepted and has common usage

I dispute that. "New atheism" does not have a common usage. It has different usages depending on who's speaking, and who's listening. 'Critics' of 'new atheists' do not mean anywhere close to the same thing the wikipedia article means.

But, despite my objection, it's actually irrelevant to my point about gnu atheism.

Quote:
6 gnu term must take hold, and considering how confusing the concept is, it'll take years for it to take hold

What's confusing? Galvanized? I'm an activist. Check. Non-violent? I'm non-violent. Check. Unapologetic? I'm very good at being unapologetic. Check.

Where's the confusion?

This is exactly the same as with physicalism. It's not equally ambiguous and confusing as materialism. It is instead more specific, and being more specific, it only has the meaning I choose to give it, rather than letting my enemy 'interpret' what is "really new" about "new atheism".

And I don't need to wait for it to take hold! I use it right now, in every conversation with 'critics' of so-called 'new atheists'. It is a tool that I use at my will. They don't need to already know what it means, because I'm going to tell them and make sure they know. That's the whole point. It is breaking stereotypes about atheists.

Quote:
7 gnu term eventually gains acceptance as common usage

Unnecessary. It only needs to become somewhat popular among atheists who wield it as a tool against straw-man stereotypes. It is an antibody against a common meme. Not every cell needs to produce antibodies, only some specialized few among many.

Quote:
8 those against atheists says something incorrect/disparaging about "gnu atheism" 

Like what? That's the whole point. Gnu is defined, it's defined simply, and it's defined specifically to counter their straw men.

They say we're angry? We say, the word is galvanized, buddy. Get it right! It's right there in the name, nimrod. Are you complaining because we're rightfully pissed off at your religious crap?

They say we're offensive? We say we're unapologetic, and non-violent to boot. And that's no crime! To prove being an open atheist is wrong, you have to prove your book is right. Let's see it!

Quote:
9 person creates new term to avoid "gnu atheism"

Why? Nothing wrong with galvanized, non-violent, or unapologetic.

And besides, disparaging gnus is actually what makes the gnu label so effective. It reverses the focus right back onto the critic who cannot justify the inhumane treatment against an innocent person.

Quote:
REPEAT CYCLE

With all due respect, Brian, unless you have some additional well-known pseudonym which you've been using for the past 3 or so years, debating accommodationists and other anti-gnus, I don't recall you engaging in a single debate even using the term 'new atheist'. I could be wrong, but I don't recall it. You simply do not have the evidence on your side.

The 'repeat cycle' is the 'new atheist' circus. The turbo-wash/turbo-dry express clean service is the gnu atheist argument.

Quote:

I'd rather replace step 5 with a response to why the incorrect/disparaging person is wrong than to let the incorrect person spin me in circles making it harder for me to find others like me.  With every new word we make to describe atheists we become even more segmented.

This makes no sense. You think 'gnu atheist' is brand new? I didn't make it up. It's almost 2 years old now. And my usage of unapologetic is close to 2 and a half years old.

Also, where's the segmentation? I'm an atheist. And I'm also a gnu atheist. It's not harder to find like minded atheists, it's easier. I can choose to look for 'atheists' and find all of them, or look for 'gnu atheists' and find just the gnus.

Quote:
I've been fighting for the proper usage of the word atheist for years.

Me too. And I continue to. This is not mutually exclusive with gnu atheism. It goes hand-in-hand with it.

Quote:
  People aren't telling you, I guess they don't want to discourage you.  Go for it, but if successful you will have divided atheists yet again and will inevitably end up facing the exact same things you faced when deciding to create the term. 

Brian, it's not even my term. I'm borrowing it. It's been in use since July 2010. Google it. Read the docs in the Gnu Atheism group. Look up my post on 'still unapologetic' and read about it.

In fact, Ophelia Benson is miffed at me for making a FB group when she already had a 'community page' called Gnu Atheism. Seriously. Get educated on this. You think I'm inventing something new, when it has a history going back several years. The core argument has been playing out in the atheist blogosphere at least 5 years, probably more (too tired to hunt it down in google). Starting with the 'framing' debate, shifting into the 'accommodationism' debate, and springing out of the 'Tom Johnson affair'. If these are new phrases to you, then you're way behind.

Self-declared gnu atheists already exist by the thousands. They are among the most prominent atheist bloggers. Jerry Coyne, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, Russel Blackford, Jason Rosenberg, Jesus & Mo, Eric MacDonald, Rieux, Articulett, and a bunch of other well known popular bloggers and blog comment regulars.

I'm tapping into something that already exists. Indeed, I've already been part of it from close to the beginning, in addition to RRS, and with some crossover. Sure, maybe Zachary Moore is a bit out of the loop (or more likely wondering who the heck I am), but this thing is already big, and it's going to get bigger and bigger. Google it, man, I'm not making this shit up.

(BTW: I was half-dozing a couple of times writing this post, having to wake myself up, so forgive the odd rambling sentence or three. Time for bed, obviously.)

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 I tried.  If you want to

 I tried.  If you want to know what I think, just re-read my last post.  You're trying hard to justify this, and are missing my point.  Right from the get-go you are saying that new atheism doesn't have a fixed meaning and this is part of the reason you'd prefer another term.  My point was the same for the word atheist.  If you want to claim that new atheism doesn't have a fixed meaning (and it does) then you must be willing to accept that the word "atheism" itself doesn't have a fixed meaning when the same critics use it.  Yet you still use the word atheism, why haven't you run from that?

A 2 year old term and yet still it hasn't caught on, and still people are confused, Zachary Moore never heard it, other people don't get it, I need to learn the history, and more jumping through hoops to get this idea.  5-25 more years of that and maybe you'll have succeeded in helping atheists split themselves up further.  Just don't get pissed at the people who create a gnu gnu term.  

I said my piece, you know where I stand, I was telling you because others people probably wont.  Good people are going to be inclined to encourage you, even if it's just by keeping their mouth shut.  I want to see you make the biggest impact possible and for some reason you've chosen this as your battle.  It's like bajillionth on the list of things that we as atheists could be doing to better the world.  I wish you well with it, and hope it doesn't have any unintended negative consequences for the atheist community.

 

- Brian Sapient


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 I did some searching.

 I did some searching.  The vibe I get is that others are taking this as a joke.  It's a kids game essentially.  You called me new, but I'm Gnu.  What's that?  HAHA you don't know!

Meanwhile pharyngula says...

Gnu Atheists is a pun on the label New Atheists that quickly took on a life of its own. As a pun, it is equivalent in meaning to New Atheists, and the two can be substituted for each other anywhere they occur.

 

 

It's the same thing, yet I never gnu that in 2 years of reading about it from you.  Which illustrates my point.  It's confusing, not something to rally around, and already does not have a fixed definition. Was it you that originally bastardized it?  I don't see any notable atheists with the Galvanized Non Violent Unapolgetic meaning that you use.  

No fixed definition for the word designed to replace a word because it didn't have a fixed definition?  

 

Next time someone calls me an atheist, I may just tell them I'm not an atheist I'm an otheist.  They'll be like, wtf is that?  I'll say, haha!

 

- Brian Sapient


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 If I wiki gnu atheist it

 If I wiki gnu atheist it just redirects me to the "new atheist" page.  This thing is clearly meant as a joke. 

Here's how you should explain it:  Gnu atheist means the same thing as new atheist but since nobody knows what gnu atheist means you can use that and laugh at uninformed people.

 

 

 

I'm an otheist now.

 

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 Gnu atheism is

 Gnu atheism is mischaracterized and attacked:  http://scientopia.org/blogs/galacticinteractions/2011/02/03/why-i-dont-like-the-term-gnu-atheist/

Time to create a new word.

 

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Sapient wrote:If you want to

Sapient wrote:
If you want to claim that new atheism doesn't have a fixed meaning (and it does) then you must be willing to accept that the word "atheism" itself doesn't have a fixed meaning when the same critics use it.  Yet you still use the word atheism, why haven't you run from that?

I didn't miss your point. I addressed it explicitly.

Atheism is simple. Easy to defend. Two words: Without theism. The prefix a- means 'without' in hundreds of other familiar words. It's not a difficult argument to make. It takes two seconds.

New atheism is not simple. It is not easy to defend (unless you happen to carry around an old copy of Wired magazine everywhere you go). It is not a simple conjunction of two words: New + atheism. Because it is not easy to explain what is 'new' about it. People, from their limited exposure to atheists in general, and their existing bias to think that outspoken atheists are shrill, militant, etc. are basically bound to assume that what is 'new' about them is that they are shrill, militant, etc. That definition then, is the one you have to work against and dislodge.

You have to explain why your intended meaning of 'new' is actually the really 'new' thing about the 'new atheists'. You are already on the defensive. You are accepting their presumption of shrillness, and trying to change their minds that the 'new atheists' aren't really new because they are shrill, but new because they blah blah blah. I can't even remember what the point the wikipedia article tried to claim was 'new' about them. See?

Gnu bypasses that whole circus.

You know what this is similar to? The word 'bright'. No, no, I don't mean 'bright' as in 'smarter than you!', I mean 'bright' as a metaphor for the values of the Enlightenment, and it really means 'someone who holds a worldview free from supernatural elements'. No, I don't think you're 'dim'. No, that's not what I mean. No, see here, if you go to the-brights.net.... No, .net, not .com. I know I know. See, that's the definition. Yeah, I guess it can sound kinda arrogant, but I really don't mean it that way. Yadda yadda yadda.

Now. Do you remember my old username? Natural. Why 'natural'? Simple. I have a naturalistic world view. Naturalistic => Natural. What are you? Well, do you believe in anything supernatural? Yes? Then you're a 'super'. Supernatural => Super. Naturals and supers. They both sound kinda silly at first (so did Google, so did Facebook, so did Microsoft (who wants to be 'micro' and 'soft'?)), but they are dead simple and easy to defend. If you don't want to take the nick-name 'super', then I'm afraid you'll have to use the longer version: Supernaturalist. Unless you have something shorter. I just use 'natural' as a short-form nick-name for 'natural worldviewist' in order to distinguish it from 'naturalist', which has three other confusing meanings: Someone who likes to go out into nature; someone who collects or studies birds, animals, etc.; or, a nudist. I'm not talking about those. I just have a naturalistic worldview, in terms of philosophy, but in casual discussion of the issues involved I just shorten that to "I'm a natural," so I don't have to say the whole thing every time.

Bright: Vague, misleading, confusing, easily misinterpreted, hard to defend.

Natural: Basic, simple, easy to clarify, not really misleading, eliminates confusion, hard to misinterpret (unless you're a bone-headed apologist, intent on misinterpreting everything I say), easy to defend.

New atheist: Vague, misleading (the 'new' that you think is not the 'new' that I mean), confusing, easily misinterpreted, hard to defend.

Gnu atheist: Short and snappy like 'new', but obviously different (pronounce the g in conversation if you want to make the point), simple (I've got it down to three clear concepts), not misleading (in the sense that the acronym maps directly to three words that mean what I am, and the 'what I am' is also what happens to be 'what is new' about me), eliminates confusion (no, your 'new atheist' label does not apply to me), hard to misinterpret (the G-N-and-U words are clear and simple and well-defined), and easy to defend (I don't care what you think I am; I'm telling you what I am (and my past behaviour backs it up), and if you think different, it is your job to prove it).

Quote:
A 2 year old term and yet still it hasn't caught on,

Yes it has. Ask PZ Myers. Ask Jerry Coyne. Ask Ophelia Benson. Ask anyone in the atheist blogosphere who reads any of those regularly.

Quote:
and still people are confused, Zachary Moore never heard it,

Did he say that to you privately? I only got two relevant comments from him: How do I know if I'm gnu? and Could you put it in one sentence? That's more about making sure I'm not misusing the term, and packaging it up into a soundbyte. He did not say, "Never heard of it." and he's also a member of the group and has commented there. So clearly he's not uncomfortable with it.

Quote:
other people don't get it,

That's fine. Not everyone reads the blogs.

Quote:
I need to learn the history,

Only if you want to know where it came from and why. You don't need to learn the history in order to use it.

Quote:
and more jumping through hoops to get this idea.

What hoops? Galvanized? Check. Non-violent? Check. Unapologetic? Check. Where do I sign up? This URL right here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/gnuatheism/ Check.

Done.

Quote:
5-25 more years of that and maybe you'll have succeeded in helping atheists split themselves up further.

Where's the split? Am I atheist? Check. Am I also gnu? Check. Am I still atheist? ... Uh, yep, check. Do I care if others still call themselves 'new'? Nope. Will I still defend the use of 'gnu' when a 'new' argues against it? Yep, but other gnus are not obligated to do so; I'm just telling you why I'm replying to you.

Quote:
  Just don't get pissed at the people who create a gnu gnu term. 

I won't. Let em. They still won't have anything bad on G-N-U atheists. What are they gonna call themselves? The Apathetic Violent Apologists for Religion?

Quote:
I said my piece, you know where I stand, I was telling you because others people probably wont. 

Well, actually, I do appreciate that. Very much, in fact. It has helped to show me where I have forgotten to fill in the blanks. Like a FAQ. In fact, maybe that'll be the next thing I do.

Quote:
Good people are going to be inclined to encourage you, even if it's just by keeping their mouth shut. 

Fine. That's how I roll. I start something. It starts out looking weak, because I don't know what I've forgotten to explain yet. Then I keep pushing it until someone gets pissed and argues against me. And that's when the juice turns on, and I finally figure out how to lay it all out. That's largely an ADHD thing, by the way. I have a very hard time writing original stuff from scratch. But I have a very easy time responding to interesting (whether because of their stupidity, tenacity, or brilliance; I would put yours under tenacity, which I appreciate) arguments against my worldview.

Quote:
I want to see you make the biggest impact possible and for some reason you've chosen this as your battle.  It's like bajillionth on the list of things that we as atheists could be doing to better the world.

Honestly, Brian, I don't think you are a good judge of that. I think you've missed the boat on this one, and also on my POV for the 'atheism united' thing. You don't see what I see because you've been out of the trenches too long. Take off your admin hat for a few weeks, and put on your ass-kicker cap (perhaps with a new pseudonym to avoid past associations), and go kick some ass in the blogosphere (or FB or wherever) and you'll get a better sense of what's going on. The reason you need to learn some history is because you haven't been paying attention while history was happening. I don't fault you for that. I know life circumstances take priority, and sometimes a break is the best thing we can do for ourselves. But you're talking out of ignorance here. Never a good thing.

Quote:
  I wish you well with it, and hope it doesn't have any unintended negative consequences for the atheist community.

Thanks for the well-wishes. Sincerely.

But that's another thing you don't get. I have figured out the 'unintended negative consequences' thing. I was hoping to bring it to light more with you, but before I finished my task, you triggered some unintended negative consequences. That was a major part of my disappointment. C'est la vie.

I've survived Elevator Gate. I've survived several RRS-related dust-ups, defending RRS and you against slams from some pretty-big-name folks in the blog comments, one of whom has sent me a FB friend request and will soon be a member of the Gnu Atheism group as soon as I'm done with the FAQ, etc. I've survived a whole bunch of flare-ups, including one inside AUHQ since you left.

I'll ask you one question, which should illuminate: Have you ever heard any petty rumours about me?

I remember when I first joined RRS, and todangst had a grudge against me from the IG boards. He was stirring shit and threatening to ban me. Was I banned? Do you remember why I wasn't? Read my old PMs if you forget: [Sent Messages: Dec 19 2006 - 2:38pm, "Mod harassment"]

I handled that situation, and admired the mod—who also handled and advised me about it—for his good sense. [Archive: Dec 19 2006 - 2:54pm, "Re: Mod harassment"]

Those were my crawling-on-all-fours days. Since then, I've learned steadily, in baby steps.

Recently, I took my first few strides out in the yard with all the other kids who were rough-housing. I was tentatively optimistic when I came back into the house without a scratch: http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/30227 (Read this. Again if you think you've read it before but still don't get what I'm going on about. Ask me about it if it doesn't make things clearer, and I'll try to help.)

Since then, I've tried it several more times. I've learned how to walk confidently. It has worked consistently, including in my private life. Including — even — with you.

Now I'm ready for the big time. I'm running! But not sprinting. I'm in a marathon. I'm taking slow, but steady strides, making constant, consistent progress. I can handle conflict and difference of opinion, without blowing up, and while minimizing negative consequences, and usually reversing the trend toward a positive outcome for all sides. As long as nobody has their finger over the delete button, I can calm down brewing tempests. I've done it. Several times. Call me on it, I dare you. I've got threads you've never seen. I don't burn bridges. I hold them steady if the other side doesn't burn them first, and I can rebuild them.

That is what you missed.

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/like I must warn you, that

/like

 

I must warn you, that my middle name "Dies Irae" carries 'nonsecular' implications on FB. (Here I was about to show everyone what an awesome confrontationist I am)

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Wonderist wrote:Sapient

Wonderist wrote:

Sapient wrote:
If you want to claim that new atheism doesn't have a fixed meaning (and it does) then you must be willing to accept that the word "atheism" itself doesn't have a fixed meaning when the same critics use it.  Yet you still use the word atheism, why haven't you run from that?

I didn't miss your point. I addressed it explicitly.

Atheism is simple. Easy to defend. Two words: Without theism. The prefix a- means 'without' in hundreds of other familiar words. It's not a difficult argument to make. It takes two seconds.

New atheism is not simple. It is not easy to defend (unless you happen to carry around an old copy of Wired magazine everywhere you go). It is not a simple conjunction of two words: New + atheism. Because it is not easy to explain what is 'new' about it. 

Easy enough for me, maybe not for others.   When they ask what new atheism is, might I suggest pointing your finger and saying Ha!

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 Another stab at GNU

 Another stab at GNU atheism from an "intelligent" design guy:  http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/whats-with-this-gnu-atheist-thing/

Time for a new word?  

Ohh I got one... I am now a Canoe Atheist.   

 

 

I have asked people to vote on the words just to see where people stand.  About 10 votes in and nobody wants the term new atheist or gnu atheist... they just want atheist (for the same reasons I've been arguing here).

 

 

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[Note: in this post, I've

[Note: in this post, I've abbreviated a name to avoid triggering any google alerts because I want to hash this out with Brian before I make my actual response to the blogger in question. But you can easily identify who it is. I'm not hiding anything. I have nothing against the blogger, even if she may possibly have something against me.]

Sapient wrote:
It's the same thing, yet I never gnu that in 2 years of reading about it from you.  Which illustrates my point.  It's confusing, not something to rally around,

Interesting hypothesis. Hmmm, if it were only a joke, and not something to rally around, then your hypothesis predicts that it should only be used in non-serious ways, by people acting non-seriously. Since it is not worth rallying around, we would not expect to see anyone seriously trying to rally around it.

Let's put it to the test, shall we? <google, google> (actually, and significantly, you wouldn't be able to google this, as you'll see below.)

<returns from googling> Strange, observe this odd behaviour of a popular (and getting more popular) atheist blogger:

Quote:
O. Benson 12:43pm Feb 4
There already is a Gnu Atheism group. I'm one of the admins.

...

O. Benson also commented on Gnu Atheism's Wall post.
O. wrote: "Why create a new Gnu Atheism page when there already was one?"

After I politely explained why I had created the group (because their 'community page' didn't allow other people's posts to show up on the landing page), the blogger changed the settings of their 'community page' to allow others' posts to show up... but then conspicuously blocked our group's posts from the 'community page', deleted any direct mention of the new group, and wrote:

Quote:

O. Benson
There; fixed.
· · Saturday at 1:12pm ·
 

O. Benson
This is the real Gnu Atheism. That other one is an interloper.
· · Sunday at 5:44pm ·

Unfortunately, this directly contradicts the hypothesis that 'gnu atheism' is not taken seriously by anyone, and that it is not something worth rallying around. Why then, a self-declared 'the real Gnu Atheism' community page, set up 3 months ago by a prominent atheist blogger? Why deletion of any mention of the new group? Not even acknowledgement. Nope: Interloper. Fuck right, I am! And I'm unapologetic about that too. I did nothing wrong in this situation, got treated like dirt, by someone who has previously corresponded with me (until Elevator Gate), but you know what?

I'm galvanized. I'm rightfully a bit angry. I'm not going to sit down meekly and shut up. That was wrong of her to do that. Blocking our group's messages. I could see that. They would have been intrusive. But deleting any reference to the new group except as 'other' and 'interloper'? That's exactly the kind of intolerance gnu atheism is fighting against. Ironic then, that the blogger declares their page as 'the real Gnu Atheism'. I'm a bit ticked off. I think I'm going to respond to that when I get a chance.

But I'm also non-violent, which is core because it stems from my stance on acting only ethically (if I can help it). So I will temper my response. It will be honest, but it won't throw the blogger under the bus, nor undermine her own efforts. That particular brand of gnu atheism does not represent me, thank you very much, and yet, I am still a gnu atheist just as much as the other blogger is. We all make mistakes in judgment, from time to time, and bias can creep up on us unawares. I'm not immune to it either. I've found and corrected many biases in my worldview. I constantly question my beliefs and actions, looking for unconscious bias seeping in. Often I catch it out, but not always. I'm not perfect. I'm just pretty good. So, because I could be making my own errors in judgment without realizing it, I'm going to err on the side of de-escalation of conflict. I'm going to take the elevator, instead of the escalator. Elevate the conversation, rather than escalate it.

But I'm also unapologetic. I truly did nothing wrong in that situation, as far as I can tell. I didn't insult, I didn't blow the blogger off. In fact, I pointed out what the real problem was, and the blogger realized it was also a problem that affected her as well (some context here is important to preserve, so a bit of a long quote, but you can skim it. Be sure to read the comments with the highlighted 'pissed', though, for clarity):

Quote:
Thaumas Themelios Yeah, saw that. Unfortunately it only shows stuff posted by the main account, and I wanted to post something for gnu-ish friends to see. Hence this group. Community pages suck somewhat in that regard. Fortunately, anyone can create another group called Gnu Atheism; FB allows name overlap. Feel free to. We're all gnus in the same fight.
Saturday at 12:48pm · Like

O. Benson It seems confusing, to me.
Saturday at 12:50pm · Like

Thaumas Themelios I know, me too. It kinda sucks, but that's FB for ya. The only reason I started this was to get around that problem with FB 'community pages'.
Saturday at 12:57pm · Like

O. Benson The settings on that page have "everyone can post on wall" checked. I'm confused. The other admin, who set it up, is away on travels at the moment - I don't know if he intended it to be "only admins can post." I doubt it though.
Saturday at 12:59pm · Like

Thaumas Themelios
Well, it's not about who 'can post', but more about who's posts show up on the wall when you first visit the page. If you go straight to the page URL http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gnu-Atheism/144310995587370 , you'll only see posts from "Gnu Atheism". I didn't want to be put on the back-burner like that. I was a bit pissed off at the time (at an accommodationist post, which my comment was in response to) and wanted to rant where people could see it. [bold added; parenthetical in the original -- wonderist@RRS Feb 7, 2012 1:26pm]

To view all the posts on the community page, you have to click "Everyone (Most Recent)" at the top of the wall.

Gnu Atheism
A Gnu Atheist is a new type of atheist. A New Atheist is normally described as ...See More
Page: 118 like this
Saturday at 1:07pm · Like ·

O. Benson What a stupid arrangement - I didn't know it was set up like that.
Saturday at 1:09pm · Like

O. Benson I'm not surprised you were pissed; I am too because mine (under my name instead of GA) are on back burner too!
Saturday at 1:11pm · Like

Thaumas Themelios Well, heck, feel free to post here in the meantime, or start another group. I would have no problem with that. You're welcome here, too, of course!
Saturday at 1:13pm · Like

O. Benson I figured it out - just had to check all pages. Der.
Saturday at 1:13pm · Like

(Note I didn't say I was pissed at the blogger or their page, but at the accommodationist post I wanted to rant about. This is the important context that needs to be preserved.)

I did nothing wrong, was as polite as could be, taking extra pains to clarify my motivations, and even helped her to identify the problem on her page so she could fix it, and yet I'm othered (literally) as an 'interloper'. Well, frankly, that's hypocritical, coming from a fellow gnu, so I plan to respond. But I'll respond without being obsequious, without giving away the farm, without surrender. I will not be apologetic. I will not apologize for anything that I didn't actually do wrong. I will be honest, but unapologetic. And I'll be heard (not deleted; or, 'herd' if you want another pun), and that's all I really care about.

Now. Can you see how there are larger principles at play here than mere jokey puns? It's like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Hilarious gag! Real, actual, bona fide practiced religion. Only hasn't been registered in the US yet (I don't think), but it could be. In New Zealand (I think!) someone won a case about religious discrimination, claiming FSM as his religion, and won! Hilarious gag. Real religion! That's the fucking point!

Gnu atheism. Hilarious gag, honest-to-goodness serious self-applied label. That is the fucking point!

You know what? I'm going to adopt FSM as my religion too, and declare 'gnu' a holy label (holy in the sense that no one is allowed to define it for others, and can only be self-applied voluntarily). Just to make the fucking point.

Quote:
and already does not have a fixed definition.

Doesn't need one. Again, the fucking point, as explained explicitly in previous comments. I define it for myself. For me it means galvanized, non-violent, unapologetic. Anyone else is free to adopt that or not, as they please. But for me that's what it means. I have always (as far as I know) explicitly disclaimed my G-N-U as being official of any kind. (Except in my own personal version of FSM, where it is fucking holy, motherfuckers! But since I'm the only one with exactly my particular brand of FSM-ism, it makes no difference.)

Quote:
Was it you that originally bastardized it?

The whole point of gnu is to make fun of these labels, man. I think you really are missing it. Who was it who initially bastardized FSM and split the religion into Church of FSM and the Pastafarians?

Quote:
  I don't see any notable atheists with the Galvanized Non Violent Unapolgetic meaning that you use. 

A) They don't need to. B) I don't care if they do. C) I just started the group on Friday. Gimme a freaking break.

Quote:
No fixed definition for the word designed to replace a word because it didn't have a fixed definition?  

Yes. Exactly. Ha!

Quote:
Next time someone calls me an atheist, I may just tell them I'm not an atheist I'm an otheist.  They'll be like, wtf is that?  I'll say, haha!

Not a bad idea. I bet you'll have a more interesting conversation than you expect.

By the way, how popular is FSM? Ha!

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 FSM rules, it's genius.

 FSM rules, it's genius.  I've waisted 2 much tyme on werd pley 2day.  It's all you.

 

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Sapient wrote: I did some

Sapient wrote:

 I did some searching.  The vibe I get is that others are taking this as a joke.  It's a kids game essentially.  You called me new, but I'm Gnu.  What's that?  HAHA you don't know!

Meanwhile pharyngula says...

Gnu Atheists is a pun on the label New Atheists that quickly took on a life of its own. As a pun, it is equivalent in meaning to New Atheists, and the two can be substituted for each other anywhere they occur.

Interesting that you skip all the subsequent, relevant material that corroborates my point:

Quote:
Atheists who enjoy using the label Gnu Atheist for whatever reason might want to look into joining the Gnu Atheism Facebook group.

Coinage of the MemeEdit

The satirical term Gnu Atheists began its life as a pun on the term New Atheists by Hamilton Jacobi in a comment he tried to publish at The Intersection which would have presented an accurate and insightful timeline of the Wally Smith debacle as it played out there. To preempt the comment being lost by the strict moderation policy in place at The Intersection at the time, Jacobi recopied his timeline using the word gnu in place of new at atheist blogger O. Benson's B's and Wheels:

(2) Critics point out that Chris and Sheril’s most controversial thesis in the book — namely, that the Gnu Atheists’ unapologetic criticism of religion is damaging the public acceptance of science (hereafter referred to as the MK thesis) — is merely an opinion unsupported by evidence.

One day later, Jerry Coyne, on his website Why Evolution Is True (WEIT), promulgated the meme with a LOLcats-esque graphic that depicted a theist gnu and an atheist gnu quarreling about attending church. Usage of gnu over new seems to have taken off from there as the meme spread throughout the online atheist community from Benson's and Coyne's popular websites to PZ Myers' Pharyngula and beyond.

Also note, in the original coinage of the word: "namely, that the Gnu Atheists’ unapologetic criticism of religion"

This, after I had been pushing 'unapologetic' for a few months. I will not take credit for it. I will simply note that the original coiner of the word, the pseudonymous Hamilton Jacobi, well known in the atheist blogosphere, associated "Gnu Atheists" with "unapologetic" using a possessive apostrophe: the Gnu Atheists' unapologetic criticism.

Which is exactly the fucking point.

Notice also, that his entire coinage is my argument in a nutshell:  Critics point out that Chris [Mooney, perhaps the most infamous of accommodationists -- wonderist] and Sheril’s most controversial thesis in the book — namely, that the Gnu Atheists’ unapologetic criticism of religion is damaging the public acceptance of science (hereafter referred to as the MK thesis) — is merely an opinion unsupported by evidence.

Collected together: Accommodationists' thesis — that the Gnu Atheists’ unapologetic criticism of religion is damaging  — is merely an opinion unsupported by evidence.

In other words: Ha!

Also note that the article rallies people who like 'gnu atheism' to join O's FB page, which makes zero sense if your hypothesis is correct.

I'm not saying you're 'wrong'. I'm just saying you're wrong.

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Sapient wrote: If I wiki

Sapient wrote:

 If I wiki gnu atheist it just redirects me to the "new atheist" page.  This thing is clearly meant as a joke.

Interesting hypothesis. Somewhat more parsimonious hypothesis: Wikipedia has a notability requirement. And the group(s) are still no more than 4 months old, and  haven't made the headlines yet.

So, either Hamilton Jacobi's coinage (since he coined it, he defines how it was 'meant') is not the cogent argument that it reads plainly as, or he was joking that that was his argument. Care to ask him (or her, considering it's a pseudonym) which kind of joke it was?

Simpler hypothesis: The plain reading of his argument is how the term was meant -- as a poke at, and rebuttal to, accommodationists.

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Sapient wrote: Gnu atheism

Sapient wrote:

 Gnu atheism is mischaracterized and attacked:  http://scientopia.org/blogs/galacticinteractions/2011/02/03/why-i-dont-like-the-term-gnu-atheist/

Time to create a new word.

 

Seriously, Brian. It's like you're pretending to be against it. Did you even read the comments, with all the excellent responses from gnus? A big chunk of the major players are there, too! PZ Myers jumps in several times, starting here: http://scientopia.org/blogs/galacticinteractions/2011/02/03/why-i-dont-like-the-term-gnu-atheist/#comment-3036

Just think, man. Which side of history do you want to be on? The side that makes arguments like rknop, or the side that makes arguments like Rieux? Hint, you'll have to read them to make the correct choice.

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Sapient wrote: Another stab

Sapient wrote:

 Another stab at GNU atheism from an "intelligent" design guy:  http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/whats-with-this-gnu-atheist-thing/

Time for a new word? 

A creationist? You're using a creationist link to support your hypothesis?

You have to be poe'ing me. Is this the real Brian Sapient, or is it Bizarro Sapient?

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 In at least a few of your

 In at least a few of your posts including the last one it's as if you forget that you stated "Unfortunately/inevitably, the 'New Atheist' label quickly took on all the old baggage of the old 'atheist' stereotypes (e.g. rude, obnoxious, angry, militant, shrill, blah blah blah), and was picked up and applied in slimy pejorative ways by 'critics' of the recent upsurge in outspoken atheist activity."

In my first post I explained a cycle.  My point is that the cycle has reached the point where "GNU atheist" has taken on the old negative stereotypes.  By your own logic it's time for a new word.  Create one, it'll be time for a new word about 6 months later... as soon as a theist realizes what it is.

It seems like many atheists agree with me.  I've been trying to conduct an informal poll. 

You think "GNU" atheist is the next important thing in our history?  I guess I'll be on the wrong side of it.  The atheists in my poll are like me, they prefer "atheist."  I'll use "new atheist" or "anti-theist" for myself which both mean the same thing, but I too prefer just "atheist."  And I prefer to correct people and inform them when they bastardize or misrepresent the term, rather than make a new term up.  Objectively speaking it's a waste of time.

 

 

 

 

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Sapient wrote: In at least

Sapient wrote:

 In at least a few of your posts including the last one it's as if you forget that you stated "Unfortunately/inevitably, the 'New Atheist' label quickly took on all the old baggage of the old 'atheist' stereotypes (e.g. rude, obnoxious, angry, militant, shrill, blah blah blah), and was picked up and applied in slimy pejorative ways by 'critics' of the recent upsurge in outspoken atheist activity."

In my first post I explained a cycle.

And I explained that your analogy is inappropriate because 'new' is not analogous to 'atheist'. 'New' is not simple and easy to defend. The analogy fails because of that difference.

Quote:
  My point is that the cycle has reached the point where "GNU atheist" has taken on the old negative stereotypes.  By your own logic it's time for a new word.

This is what is known as a straw man argument, in case your fallacy goggles are foggy. You are not correctly re-stating 'my logic', you are stating your own construction of straw.

The 'cycle' you speak of only remains a cycle when you replace one vague and misleading term with another vague and misleading term. Gnu, as I use it, is not vague or misleading. It is clear, and easy to defend. It breaks the cycle. I've actually used it and put it to the test. It works.

But how would you know anyway? Where have you done the work of defending 'new atheism' against its critics? I don't think I've ever seen it. I could be wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion.

Quote:
Create one, it'll be time for a new word about 6 months later... as soon as a theist realizes what it is.

We've been using gnu for about two-and-a-half years, and it's getting more popular, not less. Your own prediction, based on your own hypothesis, has failed. Your hypothesis has been disproven by your own test. Good job. You're almost done. The next thing to do is to discard the failed hypothesis, just like an atheist discards the failed hypothesis of god, or so Victor Stenger would say.

Quote:
It seems like many atheists agree with me.  I've been trying to conduct an informal poll.

I'll say more about that later another day. In the meantime, I leave it as an exercise to interested readers to debunk Brian's poll for him.

Quote:
You think "GNU" atheist is the next important thing in our history?

Considering it already exists, it does not count as 'next'. Nor did I make claims as to the importance of 'gnu' in the history of atheism. I said I have lots of ideas, and for now I'm working on this one. I also said that I don't think you're a good judge of what I should or shouldn't focus on.

Quote:
  I guess I'll be on the wrong side of it.

Guess so. Time will surely tell, one way or the other.

Quote:
, I'll use "new atheist" or "anti-theist" for myself which both mean the same thing, but I too prefer just "atheist." 

It's disappointing to me that you never asked me which label I would prefer, and just assumed you knew.

The old Sapient would have said that he would prefer a world in which the word 'atheist' did not exist, because it wouldn't have to. Where did that Sapient go? Where did we get this Bizarro Sapient from?

Quote:
And I prefer to correct people and inform them when they bastardize or misrepresent the term, rather than make a new term up.

So far in this conversation—and bizarrely reminiscent of your beef with Pineapple, except now you're using her tactics that you hate so much—you have only made objections against, and provided nothing constructive. You've provided the weakest, most easily shredded 'evidence' (your own link included PZ Myers, O. Benson, Rieux, Paul W., Mike Haubrich, Eric MacDonald, and other well-known folks, all defending gnu atheism very well; talk about an own-goal!), complete with an unscientific survey of a whole 12 people which doesn't even address any of the points I'm making anyway. Is that a pina colada you're sipping on? Is the next post going to be full of faux-drunken ranting?

I'm calling your bluff, Cpt_Sapient. Show me the evidence.

I want to see where you "correct people and inform them when they bastardize or misrepresent the term [new atheist], rather than make a new term up", within the past two-and-a-half years.

I've shown you my links. You show me yours. Show me how effective your defense of the 'bastardization' and 'misrepresentation' of 'new atheist' is. What critics of 'new atheists' have you engaged? Where are the threads? The URLs? Who did you debate?

When some blogger in the blogosphere gets all, "These new atheists are so uncivil, blah blah blah", where is Brian Sapient's rational response?

Prove me wrong. Show me the evidence. Lay down your cards. I'm betting you got nuthin'. I call; I'm all in.

Ha!

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Ha! 

Ha!

There's nothing left to say.  I don't take this issue as serious as you.  Have fun with it.  I didn't mean to get you so worked up about it.  I was just trying to let you know where I'm coming from.  

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I am a

I am a Scrooge-a-theist.

 

Tis a novel concept, for some... Smiling

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Does anyone care for some

Does anyone care for some afternoon tea, hmmmmm???

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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I like caffeine, myself.

I like caffeine, myself.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Quote:Does anyone care for

Quote:
Does anyone care for some afternoon tea, hmmmmm???

 


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When you start splitting up

When you start splitting up atheism into factions, you're playing right into the hands of religious people; plain and simple.  If you're an atheist, you're an atheist, nothing more.  Doesn't matter if you "newly" went that route (I don't say "converted" because that would imply belief) or if you think you're smarter or more hip than other non-believers.

 

I'm not even sure why this is even an issue or seriously being brought up to begin with...

 

 

 

 

Oh, and I'm a muckraking atheist.  

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


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Sage_Override

Sage_Override wrote:

Quote:
Does anyone care for some afternoon tea, hmmmmm???

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Sage_Override wrote:When you

Sage_Override wrote:

When you start splitting up atheism into factions, you're playing right into the hands of religious people; plain and simple.  If you're an atheist, you're an atheist, nothing more.  Doesn't matter if you "newly" went that route (I don't say "converted" because that would imply belief) or if you think you're smarter or more hip than other non-believers.

 

I'm not even sure why this is even an issue or seriously being brought up to begin with...

You're looking at it through Brian's straw man version.

It's not at all about 'splitting up atheism into factions.' There are no 'new atheists' vs. 'gnu atheists', because 'new atheists' is largely a vague and misleading label used by critics of outspoken atheists.

The label 'gnu atheists' is not to distinguish ourselves from actual flesh-and-blood people who call themselves 'new atheists'.

It is to distinguish ourselves from the imaginary boogeyman propped up by people who criticize outspoken atheists under the umbrella smear label 'new atheists'.

For example. How would you respond to this article?

Quote:

Which brings me to the point of what I want to say. I find myself in a peculiar position. In the past few years, we have seen the rise and growth of a group that the public sphere has labeled the “new atheists” – people who are aggressively pro-science, especially pro-Darwinism, and violently anti-religion of all kinds, especially Christianity but happy to include Islam and the rest. Actually the arguments are not that “new,” but no matter – the publicity has been huge. Distinctive of this group, although well known to anyone who studies religion and the way in which sects divide and proliferate, is the fact that (with the possible exception of the Catholic Church) nothing incurs their wrath than those who are pro-science but who refuse to agree that all and every kind of religious belief is wrong, pernicious, and socially and personally dangerous. Recently, it has been the newly appointed director of the NIH, Francis Collins, who has been incurring their hatred. Given the man’s scientific and managerial credentials – completing the HGP under budget and under time for a start – this is deplorable, if understandable since Collins is a devout Christian.

I am not a devout Christian, yet if anything, the things said against me are worse. Richard Dawkins, in his best selling The God Delusion, likens me to Neville Chamberlain, the pusillanimous appeaser of Hitler at Munich. Jerry Coyne reviewed one of my books (Can a Darwinian be a Christian?) using the Orwellian quote that only an intellectual could believe the nonsense I believe in. And non-stop blogger P. Z. Myers has referred to be as a “clueless gobshite.” This invective is all because, although I am not a believer, I do not think that all believers are evil or stupid, and because I do not think that science and religion have to clash. (Of course some science and religion clashes. That is the whole point of the Darwinism-Creationism debate. The matter is whether all science and religion clash, something I deny strongly.)

Let me say that I believe the new atheists do the side of science a grave disservice. I will defend to the death the right of them to say what they do – as one who is English-born one of the things I admire most about the USA is the First Amendment. But I think first that these people do a disservice to scholarship. Their treatment of the religious viewpoint is pathetic to the point of non-being. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course. Proudly he criticizes that whereof he knows nothing. As I have said elsewhere, for the first time in my life, I felt sorry for the ontological argument. If we criticized gene theory with as little knowledge as Dawkins has of religion and philosophy, he would be rightly indignant. (He was just this when, thirty years ago, Mary Midgeley went after the selfish gene concept without the slightest knowledge of genetics.) Conversely, I am indignant at the poor quality of the argumentation in Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and all of the others in that group.

Secondly, I think that the new atheists are doing terrible political damage to the cause of Creationism fighting. Americans are religious people. You may not like this fact. But they are. Not all are fanatics. Survey after survey shows that most American Christians (and Jews and others) fall in the middle on social issues like abortion and gay marriage as well as on science. They want to be science-friendly, although it is certainly true that many have been seduced by the Creationists. We evolutionists have got to speak to these people. We have got to show them that Darwinism is their friend not their enemy. We have got to get them onside when it comes to science in the classroom. And criticizing good men like Francis Collins, accusing them of fanaticism, is just not going to do the job. Nor is criticizing everyone, like me, who wants to build a bridge to believers – not accepting the beliefs, but willing to respect someone who does have them. For myself, I would like America to have a healthcare system like Canada – government run, compulsory, universal. It is cheaper and better. But I engage with those who want free enterprise to be involved in the business. Likewise I engage with believers – I don’t accept their beliefs but I respect their right to have them.

Most importantly, the new atheists are doing terrible damage to the fight to keep Creationism out of the schools. The First Amendment does not ban the teaching of bad science in publicly funded schools. It bans the teaching of religion. That is why it is crucial to argue that Creationism, including its side kick IDT, is religion and not just bad science. But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If teaching “God exists” is teaching religion – and it is – then why is teaching “God does not exist” not teaching religion? Obviously it is teaching religion. But if science generally and Darwinism specifically imply that God does not exist, then teaching science generally and Darwinism specifically runs smack up against the First Amendment. Perhaps indeed teaching Darwinism is implicitly teaching atheism. This is the claim of the new atheists. If this is so, then we shall have to live with it and rethink our strategy about Creationism and the schools. The point is however that the new atheists have lamentably failed to prove their point, and excoriating people like me who show the failure is (again) not very helpful.

I think that P. Z. Myers and his crew are as disastrous to the evolution side – and people like me need to say this – as Ben Stein is disastrous to the Creationism side – and the Creationists should have had the guts to say so. I have written elsewhere that The God Delusion makes me ashamed to be an atheist. Let me say that again. Let me say also that I am proud to be the focus of the invective of the new atheists. They are a bloody disaster and I want to be on the front line of those who say so.

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Recap:New atheists and GNU

Recap:

New atheists and GNU atheists are the same thing, as defined at Pharyngula which seems to be where the term was coined.

Wikipedia redirects GNU atheism to New atheism.

Ask the atheist also talks about how GNU atheist and New atheist are the same thing.

Quote:
A “new atheist” is an ordinary atheist by any definition of the word, so if anything “new atheists” are a subset of atheists. “Gnu atheists” means the same as “new atheists”; it was coined by a “new atheist” (might have been PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne or Ophelia Benson) to make fun of the original term.

It is gathering usage as a term that is the same as GNU atheist.  

 

Wouldn't you have an easier time in conversation if you used it in the same manner other new atheists are using it? 

 

 

 

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Quote:A &ldquo;new

Quote:
A “new atheist” is an ordinary atheist by any definition of the word, so if anything “new atheists” are a subset of atheists. “Gnu atheists” means the same as “new atheists”; it was coined by a “new atheist” (might have been PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne or Ophelia Benson) to make fun of the original term.

 

This is the same thing I found, but didn't post it.  Not that it matters because this "new/gnu" atheist thing is just a weird, hippy spin on the "atheist" label that doesn't need to be altered or skewed in any way.  You're an atheist or you're not; anything else is either theistic, deistic or an attempt to add a pseudo-sounding word to the beginning of it.  I don't get why Wonder doesn't understand that.  I mean, if his argument is because "new atheism" implies that "religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises," then by his definition, all atheists SHOULD be new atheists which is pushing an agenda.  Just because some of us would rather not believe than make a spectacle at every turn doesn't mean we should be set aside as passive in the eyes of other non-believers.  All us atheists do our fair share of criticizing and calling out religion on their bullshit; just because some of us would rather remain silent a majority of the time doesn't mean we need a sub-movement of egos and pseudo-intellectuals sounding the bugle to lead the charge.

 

Whatever, though; do what you will, Wonder.     

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me


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Sapient wrote:Wouldn't you

Sapient wrote:

Wouldn't you have an easier time in conversation if you used it in the same manner other new atheists are using it?

Wouldn't you have an easier time understanding the issue if you actually took the time to read what I've written here which already answers your question?

Wouldn't it also be easier if you just answer the question I posed in the previous post?

Quote:
How would you respond to this article?

Seriously, try answering that question.

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Sage_Override wrote:Quote:A

Sage_Override wrote:

Quote:
A “new atheist” is an ordinary atheist by any definition of the word, so if anything “new atheists” are a subset of atheists. “Gnu atheists” means the same as “new atheists”; it was coined by a “new atheist” (might have been PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne or Ophelia Benson) to make fun of the original term.

 

This is the same thing I found, but didn't post it.  Not that it matters because this "new/gnu" atheist thing is just a weird, hippy spin on the "atheist" label that doesn't need to be altered or skewed in any way.  You're an atheist or you're not; anything else is either theistic, deistic or an attempt to add a pseudo-sounding word to the beginning of it.  I don't get why Wonder doesn't understand that.  I mean, if his argument is because "new atheism" implies that "religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises," then by his definition, all atheists SHOULD be new atheists which is pushing an agenda.  Just because some of us would rather not believe than make a spectacle at every turn doesn't mean we should be set aside as passive in the eyes of other non-believers.  All us atheists do our fair share of criticizing and calling out religion on their bullshit; just because some of us would rather remain silent a majority of the time doesn't mean we need a sub-movement of egos and pseudo-intellectuals sounding the bugle to lead the charge.

 

Whatever, though; do what you will, Wonder.     

Sage, seriously, by not even bothering to try answering the question I posed to you, you merely continue to miss the point. You're not even trying to understand. You're assuming you understand, but your 'understanding' is a straw man. Of course it doesn't make sense if you don't even try to understand the motivation. You actually have to do some reading and comprehension for it to make sense.

For example, How would you respond to this article?

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Wonderist wrote:Sapient

Wonderist wrote:

Sapient wrote:

Wouldn't you have an easier time in conversation if you used it in the same manner other new atheists are using it?

Wouldn't you have an easier time understanding the issue if you actually took the time to read what I've written here which already answers your question?

Wouldn't it also be easier if you just answer the question I posed in the previous post?

Not at all.  Reason being is that you've taken a simple issue and made it extremely drawn out and confusing.  If you were using GNU atheist to mock, ridicule, and avoid answering then I could understand.  That at least serves a humor purpose even if just an inside joke.  You've taken an inside joke and are trying to turn it into a legitimate debate response.  It is not.  

 

Quote:
Quote:
How would you respond to this article?

Seriously, try answering that question.

I certainly wouldn't need "GNU" atheism to respond to that article.  If you told the author "I'm not a new atheist, I'm a GNU atheist" the author will tell you that he's referring to you too.  So what does it matter what you call yourself?

Respond to the issues, respond to the flaws, don't make up a new name and play a new game.  

 

- Brian Sapient


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Wonderist wrote:Sage,

Wonderist wrote:

Sage, seriously, by not even bothering to try answering the question I posed to you, you merely continue to miss the point. You're not even trying to understand. You're assuming you understand, but your 'understanding' is a straw man. Of course it doesn't make sense if you don't even try to understand the motivation. You actually have to do some reading and comprehension for it to make sense.

For example, How would you respond to this article?

It would be much more appropriate to challenge you to respond to the article without using the word GNU atheism.  A proper response to that article would take an hour or more of our time.  Each mistake should be dissected and responded to with information and evidence to the contrary.  An hour is not needed to make our point that your usage of GNU is confusing, misleading, and is a quick way to avoid the debate.  

I'd also be curious to know how you'd respond to the article using the GNU term.  Would your response be, "I'm not a new atheist, I'm a GNU atheist" ?  If that's your response and the author of your article then looks up "GNU atheist" and finds out it's the same thing as "new atheist" how will you respond to his claims that you're being disingenuous, childish, and practicing avoidance?  

 

- Brian Sapient


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