July 01, 2013

Gnu Atheism — the Gnu Fundamentalism?

The more and more I look at Gnu Atheism (trying to keep myself protected as I can) and its offshoots within "movement atheism" such as Atheism Plus, the more and more I think the title of my header is true.

Of course, I'm not alone. Frans de Waal, in a well-publicized selection from his new book, has made just such a claim. (And, for a quasi-Gnu like James Croft to accuse him of lack of nuance is "rich." I say quasi-Gnu because, while I see Croft as a leader of some sort in what I reference as "movement atheism" for lack of a better phrase, I don't see him as a full-blown Gnu by any means.)

That said, fundamentalisms generally have a core of intolerance.

With Gnus, especially the Atheism Plus generation, a fair degree of this intolerance isn't actually directed at its fundamentalist mirrors in the world of religion. Rather, it's at anybody who can't accept nth-wave feminism as the only correct expression of feminism.

And, I've personally run up against that one, from one of the high priestesses of nth-wave feminism, Stephanie Zvan.

It started with a back-and-forth on a Patheos blog post by somebody else. Here's the comment in the thread by Zvan:
Well, Steve Snyder/SocraticGadfly, since no one else can be assed [sic] to step up and say this, no matter how much me being harassed "pisses them off", no matter how much they'll stand up for JT, fuck off, you putrid, obsessive, pointless, sexist smear of slime. It is not anything but vilely anti-social to spend two and half years after a woman tells you that rape allegations need to be taken seriously popping up any time she and the man on whose blog you were schooled are mentioned together to say that this woman is controlling this man's behavior by having sex with him.  
Bit of background on that.

We first really tangled over Julian Assange and the Swedish rape allegations. The take of not only me, but others, was ... nuanced. I can't remember exactly what I said, but I said the charges were a matter of serious concern. At the same time, I said it was legitimate to ask about Swedish political motivations for ... for reopening what had been a legally closed case, in essence. Given that we already knew then that Sweden had been a willing participant in more than one of the CIA's "renditions," and given the scenario of Edward Snowden now, I, and many others, said that Assange's request of the Swedish government that it offer an in-advance guarantee it wouldn't extradite him to the US was reasonable, at least.

Zvan's take on any "nuance" like that? It's siding with a rapist. Not even an alleged rapist, but a rapist. At least that's how I remember it at the time.

And, if she wants to up the ante, as she now has, that's fine. (A friend sent me the link, and no, I haven't read the whole thing, and am not likely to, not even a week later.)

And, to fire back? Wikileaks had an FBI mole inside its ranks. Putting aside the issue of how Assange didn't suspect him, it underscores how right he has been to be suspicious in general. Thordarson  at one point, before the FBI got to him, contacted LulzSec, unaware that the FBI had already turned its head.
“It’s a sign that the FBI views WikiLeaks as a suspected criminal organization rather than a news organization,” says Stephen Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “WikiLeaks was something new, so I think the FBI had to make a choice at some point as to how to evaluate it: Is this The New York Times, or is this something else? And they clearly decided it was something else.”
Given how the FBI has manufactured cases of semi-phony "terrorism plots," which Trevor Aaronson has well documented, Assange unknowingly had even more reason to be leery than he was. (That said, he also had more reason to button himself up, both metaphorically and literally, more than he did. That's not to say he's guilty of anything in Sweden, though optics aren't fantastic.)

And, speaking of that, on the issue at hand, Ms. Zvan simply would not extend the idea of "innocent until proven guilty," which holds true in Continental as well as Anglo-American legal systems, to Mr. Assange. That was on top of refusing to look at why Assange had good reason to be wary of a re-opened case.

(It gets richer yet; now I'm stalking her. Will I do a separate post about nth-wave feminism and apparent paranoia? Stay tuned.)

If you want another example of not extending the concept of innocent until proven guilty, also from an nth-wave feminist, read what Amanda Marcotte said about the Duke lacrosse team.

Or, you can get the lowdown on Zvan's "flirting advice," where she never, ever mentions the repeated issues of nth-wave feminist darling Rebecca Watson flirting with men, then getting huffy when they actually respond.

I didn't mention Watson by name, but we'll see if this nice, polite comment:
Let's also not forget that women can do "unrequited flirting" or whatever the hell you want to call it, with men. And do. And one gay man can do it with another gay man. Or one lesbian woman with another lesbian woman.
Gets posted. No, Zvan didn't mention this specifically as being only a heterosexual male wrongly coming onto a heterosexual female problem, but she sure left the implication that was her angle.

And, this is why, even for the "fun" of shooting fish in a barrel who refuse to admit they're dead, this is why I rarely do that in the Gnu Atheist drained pool, the Atheism Plusers' kiddie pool, or anything else. Or in the nth-wave feminist pool, either.

Beyond that, almost none of the folks in question, not just nth-wave feminists, but leaders of various sects and denominations within Gnu Atheism, seems to have much of a sense of humor. To me, that's another clear sign of fundamentalism. Has been ever since Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote "The Scarlet Letter."

A lot of folks "over there" either don't know how to laugh at themselves, or deliberately refuse ever to do so. And that includes Gnu Atheists in general and nth-wave feminists in general, even in the non-Venn-overlapping areas.

Besides, per a recent study, you Gnus are the least common of six main types of atheists. Stop stealing the oxygen of the rest of us.

No comments: