On accidentally coinciding anniversaries and possible futures February 12, 2012Posted by Shaun McGonigal in Culture and Society, Polyamory, Religion, Skepticism and atheism.
Tags: anniversary, Darwin Day, sex
So, today is Darwin Day. That is, on this date in 1809 Charles Darwin was born, and so every February 12h many scientifically-minded people, including many in the skeptical and atheist community, celebrate the life and works of this man. And while I have some reservations about elevating Darwin to some quasi sainthood, which seems (Perhaps unconsciously) implicit in doing such, I am glad to have a day to remember the extremely important impact of his ideas on our view of the world. In many ways, evolution and the mechanisms which underlie it were a serious blow to the explanatory role of theology, which lays sick and holding dearly onto life as we speak.
Well, many of us know its already really dead, and merely being propped up and puppeted—poorly!—by those still intoxicated on the putrid fumes of theology.
But I allowing myself to be distracted. See, there was something else I intended to talk about today…. Oh, right!
Happy 3rd anniversary to this blog!
That’s right, folks! On February 12th 2009 (which was the 150th anniversary year of The Origin of Species, as well as Darwin’s 200th birthday!), I posted my first words on this blog.
And since then much has changed. I have gone through some pretty awful times, lived in Atlanta for a while, had some more awful times, and then met my future wife before moving back to Philadelphia. I have covered topics as wide ranged as the history of religion, commentary on culture and atheism, polyamory, sex, and (of course) philosophy. I doubt that will change much, but I will talk briefly about what kinds of things I have been thinking about recently which will turn into blog posts in the future.
In the next year, I want to start focusing on what I see as an interesting phenomenon from my point of view. See, I have been part of the atheist community for about 10 years now. I know many people within it (although many of the newer and younger contributors have slipped by me since I have not been financially secure enough to go to any conventions recently), and I follow what is talked about in the bloggosphere (I read like 30 blogs), on youtube, and behind the scenes much more than I talk about here. In many cases, I don’t comment on issues that arise because others are already doing so. So, for example, when the kerfuffle with the Amazing Atheist came up recently, I sat back and watched others tear him to pieces (I always thought he was a douche bag though).
But one thing I have been noticing recently is that the struggle that the atheist community has been through, the relative attention it is now receiving, is something that those in the polyamory community will have to deal with in the future…probably. I have already seen pieces of this recently, both in my writing and elsewhere. Many of the same cognitive biases, types of arguments, etc which atheists have long (and repeatedly) responded to from theists or their accommodaters, I sometimes see in response to polyamory–even from skeptics! There are exceptions (JT Eberhard, for example), but in my opinion if sexuality, relationships, and our emotional issues surrounding them were to receive the same skeptical treatment that religion has, more people would not only be accepting of polyamory, but they would internalize many of the lessons it has to teach. This does not mean everyone would (or even should) become polyamorous, but it should mean that the unhealthy, sex-negative, cheating over sharing mentality of our culture would decrease, even if many people would still find themselves content and happy while being actively monogamous.
I want to create a rhetorical platform for polyamory. I want to foresee the social implications of its collision with mainstream culture, anticipate the reactions from people of all kinds (the conservative Christians will have a field day saying “see, told you! We allowed homosexuality and now this!”), and use what I have learned from the atheist community to help people understand polyamory (much like how Greta Christina taught us how the atheist community could learn from the gay community).
But more broadly, I want to start connecting the dots between skepticism, sexuality, and the default status of exclusivity in our culture. I want people to be more educated about their sexuality, emotional issues related to it, and about better ways to communicate with people around them. I want people to have what they want without hurting other people to get it. I want the monogamous and cheating culture to gradually transform into a culture which values sharing ourselves as emotionally mature and authentic people.
Yeah, I’m an idealist. Sue me.
So, I’m probably not going to get all of that, I know. But perhaps we can make some inroads, create a few more skeptics in the world, and bring to light the related issues of both religious belief and sexuality. And maybe, before I die at a ripe old age after a happy life with people I love, I can see a world where cheating is not seen by most as morally preferable to sharing.
Oh, and no religion too!
So, here’s to another year, and thanks for reading, everyone!