A Visit from the Old Guard.
This weekend, Lawnboy is bringing the Lawnwife and Lawnspawn to visit me in ECC. This will be the second time that someone from my old home in St. Louis has come to visit me. Readers may recall that my St. Louis-based sponsor visited a couple of months ago, in early April. Lawnboy is one of my oldest friends, and I sometimes refer to him as Infactorium’s resident atheist. I don’t really take a position on god here. I reject faith-based labels for myself and like to simply say that I’m hopeful about god. I would love for there to be a god.
Lawnboy is the example of a person active in the atheist/skeptical movement who is a credit to the movement. I think it’s sad, really, the direction most of the skeptic/atheist movement has gone. So many adherents, even those who support basic social justice (a qualifier sadly necessary when discussing the skeptical movement), do so viciously and indignantly, vituperative toward all who take any position slightly off orthodoxy. But Lawnboy is that rare combination of steadfast in his ideals while magnanimous in his demeanor that could make the movement much stronger and more pleasant if more would follow his lead.
And Lawnboy is a natural leader too. Right now he is focusing his skeptical pursuits on a non-theistic alternative to the scouts for the Lawnspawn, among other things. I’m not involved, of course, but from afar, the efforts look impressive, exciting, and above all positive. I think the relentless negativity is one of the main reasons I haven’t engaged more with the skeptical movement: the skeptical blogosphere is all about insulting either each other, or believers.
I bet there are many thousands who are quietly working to make the world a better place. I wish they weren’t so quiet. There’s so much about the skeptical movement that is and can be positive: good medicine; charity free from proselytizing; evidence-based approaches to social problems. Things that many, many people could get behind if the visible leaders of the movement weren’t so busy sneering contemptuously at everyone and each other.
As I said before, I’m not really a member of the movement, so I don’t really have standing to critique. But I believe I’d be up for participating in some things (I have before!) if the online environment weren’t so toxic.
Anyway, the Lawncrew is coming, and we’re going to a baseball game, my first in ECC. And I’ll show them around the basic sites that I know. Which still aren’t many. But ECC is a major, historic city. And I’m excited to show what I know of it to my friends. Plus, the precocious Lawnspawn are awesome. Stay tuned: we’re all going to be marveling at their scholarship in about ten years.