July 31, 2013

And, what if more atheists are men?

Salon recently wondered why there aren't more women atheists. To which Gnu Atheist (but not a full-blown nth-wave feminist) Ophelia Benson said: Not true, at least not in terms of atheist "names" and leaders.

However, I'll not only take Salon's plaint at face value for the sake of discussion, I'll actually somewhat support it, at least in terms of rank-and-file atheists in the US and stipulate male-heavy atheism. That said, so does ARIS, which is the gold standard of religious-rated research. It finds a 60-40 split toward males. Some other polling and research puts the split higher, as high as 70-30.

This actually should NOT be surprising, nor should it be surprising that the gap is likely not closing, especially given the modern Amercan Gnu Atheist.

It seems clear to me that this person is, to generalize a bit, exhibiting in many cases a typical Type A male behavior, perhaps even such behavior on steroids.

Look at the late Christopher Hitchens, who explicitly adopted the label anti-theist, indicating not just that he disbelieved in god, but wanted to oppose god should a fundamentalist version of the stereotypical Western type of deity exist.

Albert Camus nailed this type of atheist more than 60 years ago in The Rebel. Camus, reflecting in part on his own initial move to atheism, called the rebel not an atheist but a blasphemer.

And, from silly Internet cartoons on up, or on down, isn't that what we see?

The younger Gnu Atheist as James Dean, Blasphemer without a Cause, just past the cusp of juvenility but with mental veins still coursing with adolescence and testosterone?

No, it's not because women have traditionally needed the structure of religious charity when abandoned by husbands, I don't think. Besides, that doesn't explain why atheists, at least in the US, still skew male today.

No, it's the ultimate rebellion against the ultimate father figure. And, the old, old village idiot atheism was simply a more louche version of Camus' Promethean would-be absurdist rebel.

True, nth-wave feminists in the Atheism Plus kiddie pool seem to be growing, but, that's in part a slice of larger sociological trends, IMO, of more American younger women wanting to be like men.

Why?

Beyond, or setting aside, the sexually joking "Vive la difference," and also setting aside the just-so stories of much of evolutionary psychology, at times, it's right to say, there are some differences, and in some cases, women shouldn't want to be like men.

That higher rebelliousness leads to higher suicide rates, higher death from accidents, and other problems.

Beyond that, the male of H. sapiens, without me setting women on a pedestal, can be a boor at times.

There are times I don't want to be a man.

So, without saying that greater numbers of women could "domesticate" modern American atheism, I am saying they could ameliorate it by not trying to be like stereotypical male Gnu Atheists.

To the degree Sam Harris is right in rejecting the word "atheist" as an other-definition rather than a self-definition, there's no need to rebel in general.

So, as long as American atheism, especially Gnu Atheism, defines itself in a Hitchensesque antitheist way (and remember what a bad boy poseur he liked to be in general), it's going to be more male, nth-wave feminists aside.

Many non-Atheism Plus women may also decry patriarchy in society, but you don't see them fleeing to atheism. Maybe women are more collectivist and less individualist, on average, than men. So, if they're not ready to leave a religious-like structure, they become Unitarians. Or they find something New Agey. Or, not wanting to be rebels, or deliberate individualists, at least, they don't become open atheists.

To the degree there are, on average, legitimate psychological differences between the sexes, things like this may drive the split.

Meanwhile, Greta Christina, with her penchant for seeing every issue as a hammer on which to wield her particular variety of Atheism Plus vitriol, does a head fake (shock me) of pretending to answer Engelhart's Salon piece linked at top, then engaging in a massive fail.

And, for the likes of her or Stephanie Zvan, I'm not even going to plead any equality bona fides. Because, of course, they're unacceptable.

That's why, although Twitter harassment of outspoken women is simply not acceptable, the idea of a Block Bot isn't, either. I've seen other people intolerant of free speech and the exchange of ideas get one email account of mine shit-canned, another threatened, and Zvan's peon, Greg Laden, threaten to "ban me from the Internet."

To fight intolerance with intolerance doesn't work. And, given the history of the people mentioned above, P.Z. Myers and others, I wouldn't trust Gnu Atheists anywhere near the tolerance meter.

And, speaking of P.Z. and Stephanie, with BlockBot, yeah, that worries me, per this blog post of hers. Can you picture people like that trying to get Twitter accounts deleted?

And, I now find out that I'm a bigger, and more popular/unpopular burr to Gnu Atheists than I knew. My Twitter account is on Level 3 block from Twitterer ool0n, the British Gnu who helped invent the app.

How did I, and others, like Barbara Drescher and Jeremy Stangroon, who I know, respectively, a fair bit and a little bit, online, get there? Here's how:
 The short answer is anyone that a blocker defines as block list worthy. The general rule is if you are the type that would find yourself banned on a blog on Freethoughtblogs.com, Skepchick.org or from the A+ forum then you will likely end up in the list…
There you go.

And, the "banned from blog"? That goes to further show that most Gnus aren't interested in actual dialogue, or, in even respectful terms, having their positions challenged.

Meanwhile, Tim Farley tells us more about just what's wrong with it.And, I'll have a post upcoming which focuses specifically on this.

And, that post is now done, right here.

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