“Why I am no longer a skeptic”

English: Skeptics descend on Hollywood Blvd Ma...I can’t help but agree with most of what is written on this post. Lately I do not really feel that the label of “Atheist” or “Skeptic” is enough to make me align with another person, not only because we might not be sharing any ideology, but because very often, the outspoken skeptic and atheists online are just capitalism-worshiping right-libertarians or state-praising social democrats, none of whom proposing direct action solutions that might actually help people in the here and now, which is effectively why so few people from the marginalized feel the need to take up such labels for themselves. Which in turn is why the atheist and skeptic circles are dominated by pretty much the usual young middle-class white straight cis-male demographic and too often further dominated by reactionaries such as MRAs and right-libertarians.

Most other people prefer to fly the flag of an actually progressive ideology such as feminism or anarchism, or all too often, no label at all (Because there’s shitlords everywhere and is easy to burn out.)

Some choice quotes

On failing to convert people:

To convert their followers to skepticism, there’s no use in preaching, like Dawkins and Phil Plait, about the wonders of objective reality, however eloquently they may do it. Objective reality in a liberal democracy might well be wonderful if you’re a media personality or a tenured professor in a leafy college town. But for most people, reality sucks. And if they choose to reject it, I can’t blame them. Proselytising skeptics certainly offer them no incentive to change their minds. Skeptics ask society’s castaways to leave a reality in which they are good and valued people, and enter one in which they are pieces of warm garbage. Little wonder that so few take up the offer.

on being sexist bastards:

Skepticism, of course, is only one of the many online interests which attract barely-closeted sexists. But the particular attraction of skepticism is also its particular problem: it allows the sexist to disguise his prejudice as rationality and “common sense”. You can spot guys like this easily on skeptic forums: the word “feminism” brings them crawling out, like slugs after a downpour. For them, feminism is an unscientific discipline (but how could it be otherwise?), as nonsensical as astrology or Roman Catholicism, and as ripe and essential for debunking. They’re okay with women’s lib, within reason; but now it’s gone too far, and the firm hand of reason must rein it in. Reason, weirdly enough, never seems to disrupt their own grip on power. It’s always on the side of the patriarchy.

On elitism:

About ten years ago there was a short-lived movement to rebrand skeptics as “brights”. This proposal was widely derided within the community, perhaps because it revealed too much about the skeptic mindset. Many skeptics indeed see themselves as “brights” in a world of “dims”. And rather than illuminate the world, they prefer to gather on skeptic forums and try to outshine each other.

And other good stuff. It’s a long read, but worth it.

 


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