Google “why are atheists so” and it autofills with “angry.”

If we care about the truth, then we should be nice if it helps get the truth out. If we prefer to be dismissive and rub people’s mistakes in their faces, then maybe we don’t really care about the truth, we just use “truth” like a battle cry or a sports cheer, and then proceed to shoot truth in both knees.

In middle school, people who want to show everybody how above it all they are go to school in black and listen to rough music so everyone notices what a rebel they are. They refuse to do what “everyone’s doing.” Of course, if their independence is just reversing conformity, then they’re not independent at all, they’re anti-conformists. They take all their cues from society. They wouldn’t know what to do unless they knew what wasn’t popular.

A true independent may end up conforming when the popular thing is actually good, and anti-conforming when that’s what’s good. The point is that the thing that determines what they do is what’s good, not what’s popular, or what’s anti-popular.

To be dedicated to truth, we must rise above “us vs them” tribalism.


Alicorn wrote A Suite of Pragmatic Considerations in Favor of Niceness. She argues that atheists have overcompensated for the ad hominem fallacy. In trying not to take meanness or niceness into account when they judge the truth, they’ve gone too far and now ignore niceness even when it would be a good idea. Even when it would help them get their message out.