Thursday, 30 August 2012
By the way, my internet has been fine for the last few days. I am still sore from grappling on thursday. It's truly incredible how out of shape I am. I just used my DVD to upgrade my system and I am in the long process of updating with yum. I think most of it is actually replacing f16 packages with f17 packages, but either way, it takes forever.
And in the middle of all this, I read a post that has been submitted to autisable that equates autism and atheism. I happen to be both, but that is still extremely offensive. It's the same as when some atheists equate religion with other illnesses/disabilities like schizophrenia or epilepsy. These are offensive stereotypes that demonstrate both a contempt for opposing beliefs and for the mentally ill or disabled.
These are not new stereotypes; they have been going around different places for several years, as have their opposites. Schizphrenics are stereotpyed as atheistic as well. Autistics are just as frequently stereotyped as being deeply religious. The comparisons are always accompanied by statistics "proving" that the stereotype is valid, and they're all bull. The reason they come up in debates is because they concern a handy group of people agreed by both sides to be somehow defective in terms of mental status. Of all the things that religious and nonreligious people have in common, this is not one of the ones to be proud of. It is a defect of rhetoric, and failure of the mental processes of exactly the nature that the reference to the mentally ill was meant to evoke. If your position is so weak that you cannot support it without stereotyping people who are not even debating with you, perhaps you need to reconsider where you stand.
I know some very deeply religious autistics. The reason I am not religious isn't my autism, it's because of a long process of intelligent thought. Some people have used the same sort of process to find their religion. These processes do not have identical results for people of the same neurotype, since human beings differ in so many ways from one another. A diagnosis like autism describes a set of experiences that has come to the attention of the psychiatric community that has some sort of affect upon a person's functioning in society. For many people religion is a very personal private experience, while for others religion is their only chance to be at a social gathering that is safe for them. For others religion is not safe at all. Just because you can slap a label on somebody does not mean they do not exist as an individual. This is true whether the label is atheist, theist, autistic, or anything else.
As autistics, or as family/friends of autistic people, where do we stand when mental illness or disability gets caught in the crossfire of other people's arguments?