So, first post. I have to be honest, the motivation for starting this blog isn’t very positive. As my readers are no doubt aware (do I even have readers right now?), I’ve been involved in the “deep rifts” for a little over half a year now. The lies and hypocrisy coming out of FTB/Skepchick/A+, often documented by the Slymepit, is certainly something important. But it’s even more important not to forget that there are also other issues that need to be tackled, issues in view of many more people than the rather insular “atheist movement”. There are still people who think vaccines should be avoided. There are still people who think separation of church and state is a bad idea. There are even some people, within our very own community of atheism, who still think “you can’t prove a negative”.
The problem isn’t that people are believing things that are false. The problem is that they’re thinking uncritically, that they’e failing to put in the intellectual legwork required to have a well-defended position. Recently, I’ve been “branching out” on Twitter, looking around for people saying things which I disagree with, and challenging them to defend their ideas (all the while trying to promote the hashtag #SkepticismFirst). While I’ve sometimes been a bit antagonistic, I’ve noticed that in almost every instance, I’ve been faced with non sequitors, shifting goalposts, and straight up avoidance in the form of all-caps shouting, name calling, and even blocking. Many of these people identify as atheists.
We should be atheists, yes, but only peripherally. Skepticism is more important than Atheism. Atheism protects you from false gods, but skepticism inoculates you against all forms of bullshit. It’s time to put skepticism first.