January 13, 2013
ATAWT Episode: The TAF

Please be clear, I want all beings to be able to have and benefit from the same rights and freedoms as everyone else (I think that is self-explanatory if not somewhat radical if you think about it long enough). I have actively supported a variety of different causes over four decades and I would say anti-vivisection/animal welfare, separation of church and state and what I would categorize as human equality causes are in the top three - though it’s not really fair to rank any of them because lack of well-being for anyone can’t have a positive place marker assigned to it in my book. 

All three of the causes I mention have serious ways to go before we as a society get it ‘right’ and sadly, I don’t think animals will ever win. Not ever. Too many bacon lovers and big pharma are out there for their bones, tissue, muscle, organs and membranes. I try very hard to do my part and I’m not alone, but there simply aren’t enough of us at this point in evolution to make a huge difference. I know I will never see it in my lifetime, I just hope my efforts are grains of sand in the beach of the future.

Also difficult is when you mix two or more causes together that compete. Oh, on the surface they may seem complimentary but dig down below the surface a bit and you’ll find yourself swimming in lava. And that is what we have here today on this edition of ATAWT  - As The Atheist World Turns. 

The Thunderf00t Army Faction (TAF)

Laura: Luke, come over here and look at the Interwebz there is a feud going on in Atheistville!

Luke: What are you talking about Laura, say it ain’t so. 

Laura: Yea Luke… The Plussers are calling everyone else Misogynists and they are putting a red line right down the middle of the sand of non-believers dividing them into two camps - The Plussers and The Others.

Luke: Oh man, I was thinking of going to that conference with you but now I don’t know - they’re implementing so many rules and regulations like if national security were at stake, maybe I will just stay home and play War of the Worlds. You go alone, I don’t want to be stereotyped as a perp all weekend having to do the tip of the fingers test to make sure I’m not in someone’s personal space lest I get thrown out. That would be ridiculously stressful. What do you think Laura?

Laura: I don’t think you should lose out because of stereotypes but I support whatever decision you make my love. I don’t want to have to be your advocate or bodyguard either. It’s a difficult time for all genders who are Atheists right now, reminiscent of the McCarthy era - it seems no one trusts anyone these days. Maybe I don’t want to go either, I’ll have to really think about if that’s where I want to put my conference dollars this year. There’s a cool sommelier con in Sonoma this year, want to go to that?

Luke: Maybe it would be more fun and for sure a hell of a lot less stressful. Oh my God, Laura! They are going to take this to HEADS! HEADS, did you hear me?

Laura: No, please not HEADS! The Atheist Non-Gods will not look down favorably upon us. I’m going to light a candle and chant humanist values right now.

Luke: So it is to be my lebkuchen, there is a petition by Adam Lee on change.org. It’s to be sent to the leaders of the top atheist/secular organizations, in what he identifies as Thunderf00t’s latest video attack on those who are trying to bring more gender diversity to our communities and support those who have been the target of terrible harassment, the females in Atheistville. He has taken the bull by the horns to call out Thunderf00t as representative all non-Plussers as if Thunderf00t were Andreas Baader!

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Laura: I saw the videos by Thunderf00t and he had many points but so do the Plussers Luke, I’m not sure what to think. I felt like I was watching a 70’s underground film when I saw Rebecca Watson state:

You can’t trust the cops, you can’t trust people to believe your story, you can’t trust the people who hang out with you at these events, you can’t trust the leaders of our community to give a damn.

What’s your opinion Luke, can this be true? Are women not talking about this or is it this small group of women who hang in the same circle that seem to have the same sexual harassment target on their foreheads that get continually bombarded with hate? How is it possible for a group of friends to all have that rain of hate? 

Luke: I don’t know Laura - we both know that harassment takes on many forms from bullying kids in schools to stalking in person and online to actual inappropriate touching. And, when it moves beyond that it’s no longer harassment, it’s a crime. Don’t you think it would be rather sanctimonious to think our community would be exempt from society’s problems? just because a person is a skeptic / atheist doesn’t mean they are not human - does it? 

Laura: Oh Luke, of course not, but I feel like maybe we are being summoned to a higher calling, one that is supernatural and doesn’t have the trappings, of well….. humanity. Maybe these women should consider going to the Shaman’s conference for a cleaning?

Luke: Oh Laura, you’re not saying what I think you are, are you?

Laura: I don’t know Luke, it seems that skepticism or lack of belief in a higher power is not enough anymore. What more do they want from us? When people go to conferences they need to use the same type of common street sense they would walking in NYC. Just because people have the same beliefs doesn’t make them any safer to be around than it does on a subway because everyone is going uptown. You would like it to be that way but it just isn’t.

Luke: Can I sit at the computer Laura? I am going to launch a petition on change.org for unilift elevators. I don’t want to be looked at like I’m a creep when I am riding in one.

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Laura: Good idea Luke, I’ll sign it. And, if we get more than 500 signatures it will be delivered to the Global Elevator Congress for consideration in all conference centers in the world. Now that would be something…

Luke: And I promise Laura, I will watch out for man jerks and practice peer pressure in a good way. I will defend a woman’s honor like a white knight in shining armor.

Laura: Oh Luke, there’s no hope for you. What you need to do at that computer is sign up for some women’s studies courses through MIT OpenCourseWare.

Luke: For you Laura, I would do anything… And by the way, I read Bridget Gaudette’s post So You Value Feminism and Diversity? Prove it! and I liked it.

Laura: I love you Luke.

Luke: I love you Laura.

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