There’s a debate going on among my Sciblings about atheism: is it or is it not a civil rights issue? Matthew at Framing Science is of the opinion that it is not, and apparently thinks people like Richard Dawkins are giving atheists a bad name. Jason at Evolutionblog writes the following:
Atheists don’t face a public image problem because of the books of Dawkins and Hitchens. They face a public image problem because of the bigotry and ignorance of so many religious people. Not all religious people, certainly, as the strawman version of their arguments would have you believe. But a much higher percentage than people like Matthew care to admit. You do not break through such bigotry by polite discussion. You break through it by being loud and vigorous. That’s one of the lessons you learn from the civil rights struggles of the past. Social progress is not made when the downtrodden ask politely for their just due. That women, blacks and gays faced greater oppression than what atheists face today does not alter that fact.
I added the emphasis. Just to, well, emphasize a point that is often a bone of contention here on Thus Spake Zuska.
I say, if not being polite, and using loud and vigorous debate is good enough for Richard Dawkins and the atheists in the campaign for evolution and rationality in science, it’s good enough for Zuska in the fight for gender equity and rationality in science and engineering.
Because if we had a little more rationality, we’d have a little less inequity. If I have to get all up in your face to make that point, it’s not my fault. I blame the patriarchy.