Poll results prove Chris Stedman wrong

Now I won’t pretend that the poll I put up yesterday—responding to Chris Stedman’s VICE article about how atheists are becoming alt-righters, ridden with misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, and racism—is in any way scientific. On the other hand, the answers were anonymous, and the responders, as I asked, were supposed to be atheists. So if atheists fail to decry these forms of alt-right behavior, it should show up as a big “meh” if I asked them to decry.

It didn’t. Here are the results in just a day:

In other words, 96% of atheists on this site decry. (And it’s possible that a few trolls tried to make us look bad by answering “no”.)

So I’ll tweet this to the Great Humanist just for fun. Of course he’ll say it’s bogus, and at any rate he doesn’t care about atheists in general, but about atheist LEADERS (who, of course, never asked to be leaders). So be it.


  1. GBJames
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink


  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I didn’t vote – didn’t read down far enough- but I’d have voted yes. As if I need to write that out. Well, perhaps for some.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Sorry I didn’t vote – didn’t read down far enough- but I’d have voted yes. As if I need to write that out. Well, perhaps for some.

    • glen1davidson
      Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but did they say they’d shut out all of the blacklisted people?

      I mean, Bill Maher would say he condemns all of those things too, and yet he actually was willing to interview Milo Yiannopoulos.

      Someone like Stedman can always find something wrong with someone, like keeping a reasonably open mind.

      Glen Davidson

      • glen1davidson
        Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Wrong place (should be a normal numbered comment), but so long as it’s understood that I wasn’t replying to comment #3…

      • aljones909
        Posted April 5, 2018 at 4:11 am | Permalink

        On Bill Maher “yet he actually was willing to interview Milo Yiannopoulos”. Do you think Maher shouldn’t interview people with views you find unacceptable? You have the option not to watch.

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I do not wish to meet those 14 people. We may have nothing in common besides the air we breath.

  5. Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Ask him to conduct a similar poll for theists.

    • bobbiej1
      Posted April 5, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Great Idea!

      I also did not see this vote post and would have been another “yes” vote.

  6. Derek Freyberg
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    There is an article on Patheos’s “Friendly Atheist” blog today by David McAfee and Hemant Mehta making basically the same point made by our host here and in his earlier post: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/04/03/no-most-atheists-are-not-veering-dangerously-toward-the-alt-right/.
    I’ll quote the last two paragraphs:
    “It’s foolish to pretend that the march in Charlottesville had something to do with atheism, or that Breitbart is staffed with Dawkins fanboys, or that any significant number of atheists defend Trump and his acolytes.
    Saying otherwise is the wishful thinking of a person who pops up every few months just to remind people that other atheists are less thoughtful and humanistic than himself.”
    Well said!

  7. Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The people who voted no MAY be trolls, or misogynistic racists, but it should be noted that declining to condemn is not the same as approval.

    • Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      It’s possible that some people won’t condemn them for the reason that they don’t see why they should have to when the default expectation is that they already reject them.

      I don’t feel the need to inform people I’m not a rapist. If someone insisted I had to deny I am a rapist I’d probably refuse. I’d actually be very wary of someone who denied, our of the blue, that he was a rapist.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 5, 2018 at 3:03 am | Permalink

        Or, the ‘no’s may have had in mind the SJW definitions of misogyny, racism and sexism (which is, basically, “anything that SJW’s disagree with”)

        (I think I disapprove of misogyny, racism or sexism – BUT I don’t necessarily accept that some behaviour X is an example of those things just because some SJW says so.)


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 4, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Considering the statistical error the no’s are really zero.

    • peepuk
      Posted April 5, 2018 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Most people have some false ideas in their head, and it makes sense to criticize these false ideas.

      But I don’t condemn people because I don’t think we can really blame people the false ideas in their head.

      (I didn’t vote)

  8. Posted April 4, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I hate bigotry wherever and, in whomever, it exists. It’s harder not to hate bigots. And, I have some in my family. Love the person. Hate the position.

    I have tried to live my life without bigotry and have tried to teach my children to not be bigots. It is my hope that if enough of us do this, the pattern will be broken. I would love to see bigotry die out in my lifetime, but doubt that I will. Still, one can act, and one can hope.

  9. Dave
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I gave the matter some thought but in the end decided not to cast a vote – I just felt that the question conflated too many different issues to be easily answered by a yes/no vote. Terms like “racism”, “sexism” and “white supremacy” are just too flexible and vaguely-defined nowadays. I do not consider myself to be either a racist or a sexist (by my own definitions) but I do hold some opinions that would undoubtedly get me labelled as both of those by the “woke” crowd.I don’t believe that “white supremacy” has any meaning in today’s world, or that anyone but a tiny lunatic fringe really believes in it. I don’t hate women so I could condemn misogyny if that were presented as a single issue. As for Richard Spencer, I haven’t delved into his writings and I have barely any idea who he is, apart from his occasional mentions on this site. I don’t know what he believes in or stands for, and am therefore disinclined to condemn him on that flimsy basis.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted April 4, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      As far as Spencer, you could spend a minute to Google-search him and read his Wikipedia entry. A minute would inform you greatly.

  10. andrewilliamson
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Sexism is on the poll’s list of condemnables.

    Adding misogyny is therefore redundant. But okay.

    Adding misogyny but not misandry? I fail to see how that is not sexist.

    This sort of lopsided treatment is a blind spot on the “reasonable left,” IMO, which (especially) “classic liberal,” centrist, and right-leaning males are increasingly likely to notice.

    (The regressive left doesn’t care – for them, lopsidedness in treatment is the cure.)

  11. Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    You used the phrase “white supremacy”, which hardly exists anymore, as distinct from white nationalism or separatism. And then you linked it to several other liberal demons. All those things in your naughty list don’t necessarily — I would say usually don’t — go together.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back garyaustintx your fourth nearly identical content “white supremacy” tutorial in six months! No prize available for consistency though. Do you ever get the urge to comment on wildlife, cats or boots?

      Are you a white separatist, white nationalist or something else Gazza? You’ve been asked before, but your usual style is the non-responsive ‘drive by’ comment.

      • BobTerrace
        Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Michael, Gary’s comment is also completely wrong, both about white supremacists and things that do go together.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          I’m sure you’re right Bob because Gazza only ever asserts – never supplies definitions or analysis. Assertions on their own are a waste of space.

  12. Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Most people don’t think they are racist or sexist so asking them if they are racist or sexist won’t really tell you much.

    It’s more informative if you ask things like ‘do you think it’s the mother’s primary duty to raise the kids and keep a good home’ or ‘Would you be happy if your daughter was dating a black man’ that get to the heart of the matter.

    It’s about attitudes people hold than the labels they accept.

    It’s even more effective if you don’t tell people you are trying to determine if they are prejudiced or not.

    I suspect that most readers here aren’t prejudiced, at least compared with the public at large. But if someone disagrees its up to them to prove us guilty not for us to prove we are not.

    • nicky
      Posted April 5, 2018 at 5:20 am | Permalink

      I guess you’re right, I guess we all have some degree of or tendency to sexism and racism. The important thing is to recognise it when it occurs, and not let your judgement be clouded by it (or, for that matter, become ‘reverse’ sexist or racist).

  13. Hrafn
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I took the poll, but would ask what a self-respecting alt-right atheist (as opposed to other sub-classifications of atheist) would be doing reading this blog? It’s not exactly friendly to their worldview.

    Self-selection bias, much?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 4, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      You are quite right – it’s a heck of an echo chamber of comfy plebes! I notice no commentary ever, from one-legged, bearded lady cyclists with a fondness for Kæstur hákarl for example.


      • Posted April 5, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        You couldn’t be more wrong, I thought, as I hopped off my bike on the way to the barbers, the newly bought fermented shark still working its way through my stomach. But then I realised that I’m not really much of a lady…

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted April 5, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink


    • nicky
      Posted April 5, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      Well, Jerry did say this poll pretended in no way to be scientific (which would imply in no way representative).
      It just points out there are probably large batches of atheists that are not alt-right.
      Heather pointed us to Phil Zuckerman who showed that atheists tend to be more supportive of human rights, environment, women’s rights, gay rights, etc., hence less alt-right, than the religious.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted April 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      But Stedman’s daft argument implies that Jerry, simply by virtue of being a ‘new atheist’, somehow IS “friendly to their(the alt-right’s) worldview”. Throughout, he’s implied that – in some non-specific, counter-intuitive way that’s not explicable through reason – the rational-humanist worldview advocated by every new atheist figurehead is particularly attractive to outright fascists.

      By the lights of his reasoning, somewhere like WEIT should be overflowing with white supremacists and Kek-worshipping pricks. The fact that that appears not to be the case is a strike against Stedman.

      Although I can’t see what Jerry stood to gain from engaging with the guy – looking at his twitter feed Stedman seems almost pathologically incurious.

  14. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I had a look at stedman’s twitter feed. There were six or seven emptily snarky tweets, hopping crazily around the point like a frog on a hot surface. I lost interest because he seems a bit thick.

  15. Richard Sanderson
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Peter “Humanisticus” Ferguson is upset that you are having a jab at regressive goon Chris Steadman.

    That the same Peter who actively lays pipes for antisemites and other malicious frauds, and defends online stalking and harassment…..

    Keep upsetting these creeps, Jerry.

  16. Posted April 5, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    A poll isn’t necessary to prove Chris Stedman is wrong.

    Christ Stedman opening his mouth suffices.

  17. Rich Sanderson
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Peter “Humanisticus” Ferguson is asking Chris Steadman if Jerry has “changed the wording of the article”.

    Now, if Peter is suddenly concerned with misrepresentation, why has he retweeted Sacha Saeen’s lies over and over…..Lol.

  18. Posted April 5, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Chris Stedman responds on tweeter:

    Imagine being a scientist, bestselling author, and University of Chicago professor and thinking that the results of a poll of 600 odd readers of your blog, where you essentially prompted them to respond in a certain way, “prove” me wrong…

    Yeah, Chris — try to imagine being a best-selling author and tenured, renowned professor, instead of an unemployed ‘humanist chaplain’ with hockey pucks in your earlobes.

    Oh and some freshman biology teacher with a paraphilia for sea creatures also chimes in:

    That’s from a site where the comments section is infested with slymepit denizens. Right. I’m going to believe that.

    Go ahead, say it: this is a haven for rapists. What could go wrong?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      I think the question is how to explain the data. I gather there is no Pew or IPSOS poll out there like this one.

      What is the question? If it is “do atheists condemn white supremacy”… maybe we can formulate a more interesting question.

      Perhaps some third party can set up a poll so we all don’t start eating our own, and throwing ad hominems.

      In short, the tiny poll is suggestive, but isn’t going to be the meat and potatoes of a blockbuster NYT article. If it can be thrown out, the reason would have to be bias, or small N – I think you well need over 1000, last I read on Pew’s methodology from Conrad Hackett, I think his name is.

      • Posted April 6, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        The sample size is not the issue — 600 is considered adequate for major political polls — it’s whether the sample is random & representative of the whole.

        In this instance, however, that the sample is not random is even more persuasive. For the readers of WEIT are the very demographic that Stedman and other Atheism Plussers accuse of being alt-right. If 97% of us vile bigots renounce white supremacism, then surely the general atheist population cannot be more conducive to it.

        Now, what Stedman insinuates is we are just practicing aryan taqiyya with this poll. No evidence is ever sufficient to sway the preformed conclusions of a zealot. Nevertheless, the poll was of value in refuting the slanderous misrepresentations from Stedman and his ilk.

%d bloggers like this: