Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shadow To Light Doesn't See the Light

For some time now, I have noticed that Mikey at Shadow To Light makes the mistake of identifying social justice warriors (SJW) with atheism (as well as other demographic groups, such as transhumanists).  See here, for example.  This is rather remarkable, because the majority of SJWs are not atheists.  This is what Mikey said recently:
It’s good to see that New Atheists have begun to figure out how reality works.  For a long time now, I have criticized one of the central claims of the New Atheist movement, the notion that if we could only get rid of religion, the world would be a much better place.  Not only was there no evidence to support this belief (which, ironically, was little more than faith), but the evidence we did have pointed in the other direction.  And what was that evidence?  The atheist community itself.  A crystal clear example of what I was talking about was Elevatorgate and the rage-filled rhetorical wars between the New Atheists and Social Justice atheists.  The existence of the Social Justice atheists, along with their power and influence, clearly showed there is no reason to believe that a world without religion would be any better than the one we have. - Shadow To Light
So Boghossian finally sees the light because he has criticized SJWs?  OK, the Elevatorgate debacle was an example of ridiculous behavior among SJWs who happen to be atheists.  But that whole episode just goes to show the absurd behavior of SJWs in general.  It says nothing at all about the broader atheist community, nor does it prove or disprove any claims about whether the world would be better off without religion.  Not surprisingly, Mikey fails to explain how he makes the logical link between atheist SJWs and the question of whether the world would be better off without religion.  (And incidentally, the idea that this is a "central claim" of New Atheism is just another of Mikey's lies.  There is no identifiable group called "New Atheists", much less a doctrine common to that group.)

So who are SJW in the first place?  I don't think it's fair to say that they should be identified as atheists.  To be sure, some of them are atheists, but most of them aren't.  This is a social movement that has come to be pervasive in many universities, especially among students.  Outside academia, the only notable bastion of SJW adherents has been the Atheist Plus movement.  But if it were true that these people are atheists, then it would follow that most university students these days are atheists.  As far as I know, that's still not true in the US.  The reality that escapes Mikey's notice is that there are plenty of religious SJWs, and atheists are not the majority by any means.  Furthermore, religious SJWs have been around for a long time.  But Mikey is careful to distance Christians from the SJWs in the academic community:
If some Christians ever decide to mimic the Social Justice activists ... - Mikey
As for the Atheism Plus movement, it was never representative of the majority of atheists.  It gained some level of notoriety during the Elevatorgate debacle, and it appears to have declined considerably since then.  Their behavior is not something that most atheists are proud of, and some atheists have compared their childish bullying tactics to Christians.  The movement has been mired in controversy from the outset, and it is worth noting that most atheists and skeptics, and especially most prominent atheists (whether or not they have been labeled as "New Atheists"), have stayed away from it, or have been openly critical of it from the beginning.

That's not to say that skeptics generally reject the politics of the left.  While atheism (outside the A+ movement) doesn't lay claim to any particular political orientation, it is undoubtedly true that the majority of them lean to the political left.  But that doesn't make them SJWs.  It might be more fair to say that they tend to be liberals.  The SJW movement may well be left-wing in its political outlook, but it is not liberal.  Suppression of free speech has never been a liberal ideal.  Jerry Coyne has called SJWs "Illiberal Leftists", or more often, the "Regressive Left".  And while people like Coyne and Boghossian have been making statements to this effect for some time, that fact seems to have escaped the notice of Mikey until just now.

But the thing that continues to escape Mikey's notice is that this is not an issue of the atheism versus reason, as he would have us believe.  There are atheists on both sides of the question, and there are Christians on both sides of the question.  In truth, there are more than two sides involved.  There is the obvious battle of left versus right, wherein Mikey clearly sides with the right, which is opposed to all things left of center in the political spectrum, including the identity politics of the SJWs.  (And make no mistake about it, the right practices its own brand of identity politics, which is far more odious, because it goes far beyond suppression of free speech - to suppression of all kinds human rights and dignity.)  Aside from that, there is a schism within the left, between the liberals and the SJWs.  And it's not an issue of atheism versus belief.

Perhaps the reality is too nuanced for Mikey to grasp.  In his little world, there is only us and them.  The good, represented by right-wing Christians like himself, and the bad, represented by atheists.  His tendency is to lump together everyone who disagrees with him, whether on matters of politics or religion.  To his way of thinking, they're all bad, so let's just call them atheists.  Or at least, they're not true Christians like he is.  It's all the same to him.


  1. Is Mikey unfamiliar with RICHARD DAWKINS? Dawkins has been attacked many times for his poorly thought out remarks, whether they be about elevatorgate, being sort of diddled as a kid, or terminating fetuses with down syndrome.

    SJWs are probably NOT an issue that has come about from atheistic beliefs. If anything, SJW insanity is very much linked to the same irrational thinking that comes with being religious.

    1. Dawkins is Mikey's favorite atheist punching bag. No matter what he says, Mikey is guaranteed to find fault with it.