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tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

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  1. Louise
    Louise at |

    I love Anthony K’s comment, quoted in that article:

    The skeptical movement has never been about outreach. It’s never been about helping to make the greater community outside the skeptics movement itself more skeptical, or rational.

    It’s always been a clubhouse for those who think of themselves as smarter than average.

    That is exactly the impression I get from the sceptic/atheist forums I’ve seen. It’s not only the sexism, it’s the whole “We’re so smart and you’re a delusional loser if you don’t agree 100%” attitude.

  2. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    They’re not all like that, Louise, but it certainly is more common than is seemly.

  3. Megpie71
    Megpie71 at | *

    Actually, one thing which strikes me about online sceptics and atheists is I keep wondering whether it would be possible to find a non-US dominated forum set, and see whether the discussion altered as a result.

    It seems to be a quirk of the USAlien temperament that they have no middle gears – you’re either with ‘em or agin ‘em, and there’s no middle ground, no space for “I agree with points A, B and C, but that doesn’t logically lead to me being in favour with point Y”. Nope, all or nothing, all the way. I’ve seen it played out in lots of different forums, over the years.

    Which is why my scepticism (such as it is – I tend to go with the more science-backed position on various things, rather than siding with the woo) is rather like my child-free status – it’s something I don’t raise online most of the time, because I don’t want to be automatically associated with the worst of the extremes.

  4. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help
    The Kittehs' Unpaid Help at |

    @tigtog – I guess not, but it was common enough to put me right off. And I think it ties to what Megpie just observed about the US domination of these boards. It’s not only “with us or agin us,” it seems to be heavily based on the “righteous atheists vs evil Christian fundamentalists” idea. That’s very, very much a US thing, that focus on a vocal minority (the fundamentalists) who have more political clout than their numbers would suggest, and the way anyone with any form of faith, let alone formal religion, seems to be seen as exactly the same. When the “people with religion are delusional/mentally ill” line gets trotted out, I think “Have these clowns ever heard of John Shelby Spong, for instance?”

    PS I am not religious and never have been; I was close to being atheist years ago, but events changed that. It was in those days I read these types of forums, mostly, and very offputting it was.

    Not that I think “shouty internet atheists” are representative of anything or anyone except, well, shouty internet atheists. :)

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