The Gang of Four was the name given to a collection of RationalWiki members who typified a particularly strong anti-religion bias. In any discussion involving religion, you could count on at least two of them appearing on the page. They were opposed on the wiki by the Nag of Four.
These days, the RationalWiki community has, in large part, adopted the Gang's strong anti-theism and the site itself now largely reflects their POV. The resulting lack of strong debates about the question of religion, along with the decreasing activity levels of several members and the death of another have combined to make the Gang a less important factor in regular wiki affairs. Though it can be said, for certain, that they had an enormous impact on shaping the Wiki as it is today.
The classic 4 Edit
- Bob M was a relative moderate among the Gang of Four. While opposed to religion, he did a better job than the rest at avoiding fruitless confrontation over the subject. Nonetheless, he was an ever-present figure in the push for a less religion-friendly atmosphere on RationalWiki.
- Genghis Khant was somewhere in-between Jeeves and Bob M in terms of religious intolerance. Certainly an antitheist, though better able to criticize religion without smearing 95% percent of the population as emotionally and intellectually inferior.
- Jeeves often made offensive and contemptuous statements about the religious. While consistently more caustic than SusanG, his wrath was less feared than Susan's, lending his presence in a debate less weight. He was also the most frequent offender of people's sensibilities on the matter. His remarks set off the Great Pissing Contest, although he isn't as closely associated with the incident as Susan is in RationalWiki's collective memory.
- SusanG (aka Toast) was definitely an antitheist, although she was normally quite mellow and interacted amiably with many theistic RWians. However, every once in a great while, some spark would set her off, at which point her ire could create verbal hurricanes raging across the wiki. During such times she was easily able to equal users Human and Radioactive afikomen in terms of abrasiveness. Susan, unfortunately, died in early 2011.
These RWians could easily have been members of the Gang of Four, but for individual reasons, weren't quite at their level. Additionally, with extra members, we wouldn't be able to call it the "Gang of Four", now, could we?
- Human could have been on the list, but he couldn't muster up the effort to really ''care'' that much. He saw no reason to get involved in such hard-core fights over ceiling kittens.
- Proxima Centauri was renowned for her jaw-droppingly presumptuous statements about the nature of religion and the religious. She possibly represented a new and frightening generation of atheists—a generation coddled on their pro-atheist forums and sites, for whom religion and the religious only exist as straw men and caricatures.
- Tmtoulouse is a logical positivist, a philosophy he has honed into a razor edge against any who would challenge him. However, as the owner of the site, his behaviour sets a tone for others to follow. Perhaps because of this, he largely stayed out of confrontations regarding the role (or lack of a role) of religion on RationalWiki; loudly proclaiming his position on the matter would possibly fracture RationalWiki irreparably. Consequently, he is fairly quiet about it, and the issue only comes up when others confront him on the subject.
- TheoryOfPractice was, until a certain point, tolerant toward religion and even critical of antitheists, but he changed his mind.
Individually, its members could be and were challenged. In her more accommodating moods, SusanG backed down relatively easily, while Jeeves was more likely to "harrumph!" and leave to never come back. Genghis Khant and Bob M were more challenging, being more willing to enter prolonged discussions and press the point, and showing more prudence in choosing in their battles.
It is important to note they did not conspire with each other. Their overlapping presence during discussions was purely a consequence of their similar opinions on the subject (although Susan was known to encourage Bob and Genghis after dropping out of the fight herself).
They are all believed to be British. (Does this mean something?)
- ↑ [http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Essay:A_Rational_Approach_to_Dealing_with_Religion_and_Society A Rational Approach to Dealing with Religion and Society], an essay written by TheoryOfPractice, then called PFoster
- ↑ [http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=User_talk:TheoryOfPractice&diff=325222&oldid=325216 TOP loses his patience toward religion]