First off, being that I knew he held these views for a long time, it’s curious that this is becoming a big issue now. But since it’s out there, I will comment. A comment that will be a both a criticism and a defence.
Though I am unsure what spawned this to go viral recently, I first learned of the situation though a recent Thunderf00t video (and later a SkepTorr video)
Both videos explore in a fair bit of depth, the fallacious arguments that Aron is accused (well, shown) to have used. Watch if you want. However, I will not go beyond the main issue with his argument (your a Feminist, or a Sexist).
A.) Its being beaten to death elsewhere already
B.) There are bigger fish to fry
Though it’s interesting that it took this long for the mainstream to realize these views of Aron’s, they do have a point. Its this kind of intolerant and separatist discourse that keeps many of the left’s social movements from being able to accomplish anything. If the sects do not get bogged down in idiotic and often counter productive rhetoric, they go after one another. Become intolerant bigots based on minor cosmetic label differences. Even though these people would likley find themselves allies if they evaluated stances (not just labels).
I have before, criticized Aron’s (and those that hold similar views to his) rigid views on feminism. As such, I will not do it again.
Instead, I will expand my criticism. Expand it well beyond Aron, to encompass a great many of the people making the accusations themselves. Because I know for a fact that many of these people are guilty of many of the very same errors, but just on a diffrent topic.
First off, let’s aknowledge what I call the surprise factor.
Everyone from SkepTorr, to dozens of commenters in both videos linked above, all surprised that a man that they view as such an otherwise logical and rational person, could become this tied up in fallacies.
First off, intellectual buzzwords do not impress or move me in any way.
Logical. Rational. Reasonable. Nuanced. Freethinker.
In my experiences in the last couple years, though many people love to drape themselves in these labels, many do not know what the hell they are talking about. In fact, when I see someone either using these words as a label or in an argument to describe themselves, I can be almost certain that they are just as clueless as their opposition. But for a few buzzwords that make them feel superior.
When it comes to freethinker (and really, the rest of the words), you do not have to announce them. It should be easy to see after a bit of conversation.
In fact, in my opinion, using them as a label seems contradictory. Indeed, this is not really in the definition of the word. But that seems a hypocritical stance, given why your likley reading this (just saying!).
But anyway, many have the hypothesis of an emotional connection blinding Aron’s ability to see this issue clearly. Entirly possible. Emotional reactions do tend to skew viewpoints, which is why I do my best to keep them at a distance in evaluating various things. Like anyone else, I fail at times. But though I agree that this is likley part of the problem, it’s not the whole picture.
The reason why its so easy for Aron (and others) to hold this illogical view on feminism, is because it is almost mirrored in how they view Atheism. Not just Aron, but damn near all of the movements public faces (known and unknown).
The usage of a dictionary definition to create a dicotamy that puts you either on one side or another.
I have made myself clear on this topic before, and thus, I will not again. And I will not try to argue or reason with people that hold this false dichotomy, because it’s pointless. You can not reason with those that view a minor intellectual advancement (dropping faith and religion) as a huge (and final) part of the learning process. But none the less, I have to say it. Aron may indeed be incorrect, but he is not the only one. Even if most can not (and likley will not) accept or aknowledge that.
Despite this, I am still a big fan of Aron Ra. Though many in the atheist community like to portray themselves as chasers of solutions, it’s in reality, a mostly self serving exercise. Whether your debating at any level, or monetizing simple arguments and commentary, you know who the main beneficiary is. There is a reason why I like to call Atheism a brand.
Though Aron and his crew do make a bit of cash in the process of their work, I also see him/them produce a lot of science education materials meant for personal consumption, and to assist teachers (particularly those in religously strangled school districts in southern states). For this reason, I regard Aron highly, despite our differences in opinion. I view him as a good example of what the community could be. Rather than becoming bogged down in intolerance, drama and self serving stupid bullshit, work towards solutions. Starting with secular unification.