Another break from social media, another meltdown in the skeptic and/or atheist movement. My timing has been almost supernatural. If I thought the MDC would remain maybe I’d apply for the superpower of leaving social media right before the world of skepticism/atheism has another meltdown.
Okay, no more snark.
For the last ten years, I’ve seen a tendency for national exposure for individuals to be a driving force behind a lot of what makes up the public face of the skeptic movement. This is the reality of the Internet Age. Today is the most connected the world has ever been and tomorrow it will be even more connected. Not only are we more connected, but over those connections comes more information (good or bad) than ever before. Skepticism has embraced this and we have seen the rise of skeptic brands: JREF, Skepchick, SGU, etc. The movement has created celebrities with sycophantic followers no different than what a Kardashian might have. Oh, and sometimes they even talk about skepticism…if you spell skepticism “M – E”.
Time to go back to our corners of the world for a nice long timeout. The national movement is a broken bubble of politics, snark, and narcissism. Get involved in your local skeptics movement. Attend school board meetings to make sure creationism isn’t creeping in. March in a parade, or put on a workshop on a topic you feel super passionate about it. Pressure the local pharmacy to stop carrying homeopathic “medicine”. Look for a local skeptics conference or even put one on yourself.
There are so many things you can do that don’t require a national organization or support, you would never have time to worry about what that person said about that person saying something about that other person you once saw in a bar a conference you’ll never attend again because of how you heard they might have possibly treated this one person this one way you didn’t understand was wrong until you saw it on the internet in a cat picture.
I say this, not as someone who has any pull or influence, but as someone who has acted as a patron to help people attended things like TAM. I thought that was the best way I could help the skeptic movement. I wasn’t wrong, but times change. I’d much rather support a local group trying to develop vegan cheese using science or help a comic get a comic book made. Small, focused donations on impact items is where you will see me go next. After I go back to my corner first, of course.