Today I am following up on the theme of divisiveness, which has had the online skeptical and atheist communities all abuzz following the announcement of a woman blogger who has gone on indefinite hiatus (story here) as well as the formation of a group called Atheism+, real-life examples of how communities divide, and why, and who draws boundary lines and who gets pushed out, and what happens when small groups of people leave larger groups in order to pursue their own specific goals.
Seemingly large and very vocal groups of atheists and skeptics who do not want to splinter away from the main groups are quite unhappy that the splinter groups have been formed, and are spending a lot of time arguing about it, for a variety of reasons like these:
1. It divides the movement.
2. The new group is off topic.
3. It makes everyone in the old group look bad.
4. It drives away potential new members.
5. What the new group wants is stupid and/or pointless (and they’ve cut themselves off from criticism).
6. We need to let them know what we think.
Let’s briefly address these concerns.