Dallas Wade Atheist Community Joke

Bonus Section

If you have reached this section you have found the mystical bonus section! Perhaps I am just overselling it, but I thought it might be good to present some of the reactions to the article we’ve had since it’s been posted.

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and have had some really great responses and conversations about it, but these are a few that might need a little more thought.

Francois

Tell me you’ve not read the article you’re responding to without telling me you’ve not read the article.

As for constant reinforcement, you mean like so many atheist YouTubers, bloggers, and parties keep reinforcing “atheism is ONLY a lack of belief in God.”?

Graham

Does anyone else find this incredibly disappointing? It seems that he read as far as the featured image and seemingly couldn’t understand it. The featured image is, of course, a joke about how many atheists claim to only lack belief in gods and not actively disbelieve, but applied to the atheist community that many folks say does not exist. I wonder why this has to be explained to a group of people that pride themselves on their thinking abilities.

Ray

This is a fair point Ray, one addressed in the article. I am unsure if that’s because you didn’t read the article, or if you’re agreeing with the article. To re-iterate this point, there is no overarching black community, star wars community, or even Christian community. It doesn’t stop things from being a community.

Louis

To be fair, they may well mean that, I think the problem is assuming they mean that. Wouldn’t it make sense to ask them what they mean instead of saying there is none? Why assume the worst possible reading of someone’s statement? Surely we should all learn to both clarify and steelman?

I did have a brief chat about this with Louis, so my comments here are less directed at him and more in general. There is a lot of fear in the atheist community of being seen in the same way as religious folks. This is why irrational statements like “I don’t have any beliefs” or “I don’t believe evolution I accept it as true” or “There is no atheist community” seem to come from. I can understand your distaste for religion, even if I don’t share it as passionately as you, but why should that mean we then make these sorts of statements?

Brandon

I had a great mini-chat with Brandon about this, and he made some good points. The thing I wanted to address here is the inference. I understand that we might infer The atheist community seems to be suggesting there is this singular monolithic thing because that is how it sounds. A community vs The community sound different.

I think the problem is the inference we make. If I am online talking about the atheist community, I am speaking of “the internet atheist community” and by that, I am being broad as there are lots of different types of atheists that fall under this category. Now I might be more specific, I could be talking about the Twitter atheist community, for example. I may need to specify further and say the lacktheist atheist community, philosophical atheist community, American atheist community or new atheist community and so on, but in general, I would be talking about all these types of atheists that have atheistic discussions online.

If I say there is a problem with logic or misogyny in the atheist community, that isn’t me saying all atheists are acting this way, this is me highlighting an issue that seems to be quite prevalent in said community. I don’t think we need to say “not all atheists” just like we don’t need to say “not all men” in similar discussions. I also don’t think we need to say “there is no community” in response to this.

One point Brandon did make in our chat is that there is little point in making such general statements. To paraphrase, in the same way atheists are diverse, so are other communities. There is little point in addressing the “Christian community” or “black community” without the additional context.

I can’t say I disagree with this point. Perhaps with people’s tendencies to infer things (like I mentioned above) and not clarify what people mean, perhaps on Twitter instead of “the atheist community” we should say “some of the Twitter atheist community”. This is something I need to think about and perhaps test to see if it changes interactions. The only issue with Twitter is the character count, which is why many things end up being shortened.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of the article and the responses? Have I changed your mind? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree with me? Why/why not?


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