I have written many harsh things about the Atheist community before, many times (as can be read in said category). I have leveled all kinds of criticism at the community, because in my mind, its deserved. But of all the criticisms that I have leveled, plagiarism was never one of them.
Sure, I am very critical of the movement for becoming what many within seemingly despise (a sort of pseudo religious hive minded ideology).
People disagree with that, citing the definition as evidence (its merely an individual philosophy). That is something that I would acknowledge, if many were not so quick to spread atheism as gospel to those within the secular community that dare to call themselves anything but.
“If you do not believe in god, than you are an atheist!”
First of all, that is both bigoted and intolerant. Yeah, the PC crowd overuses (and misuses!) both words a lot these days. But if you refuse to acknowledge a persons position (even if it is well thought out by the individual, as is often the case), than I can’t really think of a better set of adjectives.
Either way, hive mind games are annoying, but not really dishonest. Though arguably detrimental to a cause like the secular movement (which could accomplish good things, if many of those in it would quit being so fucking single track minded), one can not say that the Atheist community is actively dishonest as a whole.
But plagiarism is a whole new ball game.
This is a bit disappointing, being that my opinion of Jaclyn had improved a bit after she recently tried to start a conversation with Agnostics about why they call themselves such (as opposed to just correcting them, and calling anyone that disagreed some ad hominem. As is the usual atheist reaction).
But this is a new low.
My first question is, why was this necessary?
If she liked the video and the material therein, she could have shared it on youtube, facebook, twitter and everywhere else she interacts with her fans. And if she decided that she could do something better, well there is nothing wrong with that either.
But what I see here is NOT something that has been improved upon. What I see here, is the comparison between the UK and the US versions of the movie “Death At A Funeral”. Though the US version is almost identical in terms of plot and even script (damn near word for word), the original is still WAY better. Yeah, I laughed at the US version when first seeing it (I had not yet found the UK variant). But though still funny, it paled to the UK masterpiece.
Now, this is not to say that Jaclyn butchered the information. But it was terrible in its, mirror quality. Even if the accusation of plagiarism is a bit much (of which I think it is not), one could have done more with that information than just, verbatim.
Many in the Atheist community (as well as those outside of it) are reacting in different ways to this. I have seen many (including Dusty Smith) come to her defence. But there are also many that are calling her out (rightfully, in my opinion).
The reason many are coming to her defence, seems to be that they do not consider what she has done to be a very big deal. To that, I have to disagree.
For one thing, she runs a monetized channel. Which means that for everyone that views her material, she makes a cut. Its fair if it is her own work that she is profiting off of. Not if is someone else’s, however.
Also, the lack of scholars within the Atheist community is blatantly visible in this situation, since many seem to think this is not a big deal. IT IS A VERY BIG DEAL. Pull this shit in university, and you will face consequences (likely a failed grade. Suspension or expulsion if you do it more than once).
Hell, even in middle school, there are consequences. I found out when another student tried to hand in a copy of an assignment I had typed up and printed off (he found it in a recycling bin in the computer lab. It was blatantly obvious, because it was unpolished. Which was why it was dumped in the first place. Dumbass).
Either way, Jaclyn and others (so is alleged by many) whom plagiarize from one another should be careful. Such actions do not just shine a negative light on their character, but also on their credibility.
And as for those that are apparently sticking up for these plagiarists . . . are these REALLY the people you want to be aligning yourself with?
If the goal is to get the Atheist (and Secular) communities more positive traction in the world (and academia), than one should not willingly align with sources that actively run contrary to that goal. Worse, those that do so for personal profit and gain.
Indeed, the way that many mainstream Atheist’s are behaving fits this very mold. But though that is in itself bad, genuine intellectual dishonesty is MUCH worse.