• Orbital Decay

    Only a few weeks ago, The Orbit was launched. Despite my personal and philosophical differences with several of their authors (e.g. Gabriel, Zvan) I tried to remain upbeat about the project. My friend Adam [REDACTED] was less than sanguine, starting a betting pool on which one of their allies they would throw under the bus first.

    Turns out the answer was Surly Amy:

    Many Orbit bloggers, who have different relationships (or lack thereof) with Amy and Surly-Ramics, are ourselves disabled and engaged in disability advocacy to different extents. While some now feel comfortable promoting Amy’s work, others differ, and individual bloggers will continue drawing their own lines. As a network, however, we recognize offering Surly-Ramics was a mistake, both because no consensus existed on our network and because doing so without explanation cast doubt on disability rights’ importance to us. We apologize for that mistake.

    Evidently Amy has been cast out of the orbit of her erstwhile allies on account of calling people stupid, of all things.

    There is a lesson to be had in all this, for those who care to listen. It has to do with group dynamics and the pursuit of ideological purity:

    …it’s important to be prejudiced in favor of tolerating dissent.  Wait until substantially after it seems to you justified in ejecting a member from the group, before actually ejecting.  If you get rid of the old outliers, the group position will shift, and someone else will become the oddball.  If you eject them too, you’re well on the way to becoming a Bose-Einstein condensate and, er, exploding.

    That last bit will hold an intuitive appeal to physics majors, mostly. The lesson is clear enough, though. Once you start shunning allies for failing to see the world in precisely the same way, you run the risk of spiraling downwards into ever stricter purity tests until there is virtually no one left.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.