Oh Hell No

I’ve been gone for a while for several reasons. First and most importantly because I was running through a bout of depression, and after medication and a bit of therapy I’m feeling so much better now. Second, I felt there were far more talented people out there doing what I was and doing it better. Until today.

The news of Jen McCreight (aka Blag Hag) quitting her blog hit me a bit harder than I expected. As you may know, she has been one of the strongest voices in the Atheist movement in the United States. She recently went so far as to promote another wave of atheism, Atheism+. As a social researcher, I’m all sorts of on board with that. However, for the same reasons she started Atheism+ (rampant misogyny, anti-feminism, anti-woman, anti-diversity, threats of death, rape, and torture directed toward herself and anyone who agreed with her, to name a few), she has decided to allow these thugs to silence her. I’m not going to, nor am I asking that anyone, condemn her for this decision. In the end, we’re only human and there is only so much we can take. I wish her well and hope we get to hear her voice in one form or another sooner rather than later.

This post and my return was conceived when I read one of the comments on Jen’s post about her leaving:

Jadehawk says:
September 4, 2012 at 9:26 PM
take care of yourself.

also: fuck. I’ll miss your writing.
also also: lest this be seen as a win for the haters, I think I’m going to redouble my own personal efforts in promoting atheism, feminism, etc. on the net. you know, hydra, heads, all that.

This. This is another thing that Atheism+ needs to be about. These people, who cause so much pain and spew so much bile, cannot win. To steal a quote from the MARVEL comics group HYDRA 1 “cut off a limb and two more shall take its place,” I think we should aim to do this.

I may not be the most talented voice, and I may not do the best of jobs, but as Edmund Burke coined “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I consider myself a good and decent person who sometimes goes about doing things in an indecent way 2. There are many more out there like me who think they don’t need to lend their voices to the cause. We need to let these bullies know that no matter how much they bluster or how much they blow, if they manage to win a single battle, they will not win the war. As JT said in response to Jen’s decision; [the people who caused this] are an embarrassment to this movement and to humanity. Now lets go kick ‘em out.

In 2011, I conducted some research on the Bystander Effect. Essentially, the bystander effect states that as the number of people viewing a situation increases, the likelihood that any one or more people in that group will lend aid significantly decreases 3 4. Do a youtube search for the bystander effect and watch the videos, you may come back with a lowered expectation for humanity. The original study has been replicated hundreds of times and the research hasn’t really budged since. However, I took the study from the lab to the outside (where quite a few studies fall right on their face) and was able to replicate the initial findings. I tell you this because I know about this effect. I studied this effect. I manipulated people into falling for this effect. Yet I was still unable to overcome the effect to do anything for the ongoing “many women don’t feel safe or welcome in the atheist movement” debacle.

I’m going to redouble my efforts. I will not stand idly by. I hope you don’t either.

I’ll leave you with some words of wisdom from Tracy Morgan:


  1. Yes, I realize HYDRA is an evil group, but even bad guys can have good ideas from time to time. Also I’m not suggesting we “stoop to their level.”
  2. I swear. A lot.
  3. Darley, J. M. & Latané, B. (1969). Bystander “apathy.” American Scientist, 57, 244-268.
  4. Soloman, L.Z, Solomon, H., & Stone, R. (1978). Helping as a function of number of bystanders and ambiguity of emergency. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 318-321.

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