A Response to Seth Andrews’ response to an interview with Steve Shives

Please see the comment left by Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist on the video below.

Seth wrote a response to a good many people who have unsubscribed to his channel as a response to this video. I honestly believe that Seth is surprised, in the way that a Christian might be surprised to get pushback on what to them is perfectly normal. I hope to help clarify why some people might respond to the video in the way that they did.

First, I can understand why Seth would be annoyed. By unsubbing, it harms him financially. That’s a real-world consequence. The second is that he is the interviewer, not the guest. It’s not rational to unsub because of one interview. A whole series of interviews that promote non-rational ideologies might make for a different case. It is a mistake to assume that one interview represents the endorsement of a point

On the other hand, subs are legitimate feedback, as is unsubbing. This, I imagine is no different than ratings on radio. This is the world of politics. I can also see that Seth’s attitude toward commenting is rather paternal “I’m doing this for the good of the community,” which is also Steve Shive’s attitude. My thoughts are that “the community” might need my additional input, but not the removal of someone else’s. Mute them for yourself, but not for others. They’re adults, and it’s up to them to decide what to read or not, and how to handle it or not. I can see why, upon Seth’s announcement of a paternal approach to moderation why some might unsubscribe, their needs and desires are different than what Seth offers. I think that’s perfectly fair.

Added to that, based on this interview, one gets the sense that Seth has merely glossed on the subject of Feminism, and has not taken the time to dive into the very few arguments for and against. One need not be a university educated theologian to find the flaws of theism, and the disconnects with reality. One need not know all of the historical details and minutiae of thousands of writers lives to look at the basic ideas promoted by Feminism. Many people believe that Feminism is about “women’s rights” in the way that many people believe that being a Christian means “being a good neighbour.” They believe that the label represents good intentions. One can be a good person without the belief “a god exists,” and one can treat people impartially and fairly without the belief that “women are oppressed.”

Seth says “I don’t allow them to define Feminism for me.” This is exactly the same argument of “Well, MY god is…” Stop arguing about the definition of a word, throw it away, and think about the concrete claims, it’s presuppositions, and their relationship to the physical world. Further, Seth misrepresents the non-Feminist point of view in the same kind of ways that Christians misrepresent Atheist. “White men are oppressed” is as valid a representation of the non-Feminist position as is “Atheism means believing there is no god” is an accurate representation of the Atheist position. These claims start with the presupposition that “the other side” is the inverse of their own position.

Do you think the label matters? Yes, they do, and they should be discarded, until people can think past them. We don’t care about what people think, we care about what they do. We also acknowledge that ideas inform action. It is the framework of ideas that inform behaviours, and the derived actions that count, not a putative and brief descriptive overview of what the ideas represent.

It is as eye-rollingly frustrating to those of us who have thought the issues though to hear what is essentially the arguments of “cultural Feminism” as it is to you, Seth, to hear the same bland arguments made by “cultural Christianity.”

I think that we all share the same general goal of “making a better world.” I claim that if this to be achieved, that it will be done purely on a behavioural level, on a daily basis, and it starts with the concrete thinking of whether promoted beliefs match reality and are intentionally followed up with real actions, by real people who have considered the real consequences for other real people in the real world. To the degree that we endorse poorly considered messages, we are throwing sand in society’s gears and work against our own best intentions.

Advertisements
Tagged ,

One thought on “A Response to Seth Andrews’ response to an interview with Steve Shives

  1. Sam says:

    Could it be that Shives gave Andrews a list of questions?

    When I first heard the interview I got the distinct impression that Andrews was familiar with the accusations against SS – the tone of the segment on feminism as religion seemed just too chummy if Andrews is neutral on the issue.

    Of course I might have taken the same tone prior to ~1 year ago when I had never engaged the issue & was working off the prevailing culture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: