Are we hating atheists enough yet?
Jason Rosenhouse points out another way of looking at the matter:
What is so significant about the New Atheist books is the sheer volume of books that they sold. They have revealed that to a far greater extent than was previously realized, there is a hunger in America for books written from a non-religious perspective. That is a momentous accomplishment, and one that should warm the hearts of anyone who cares about promoting science and reason.
Quite; and in doing that, they have also made it easier for atheists to be frankly as opposed to covertly atheists. That too is a momentous accomplishment, and a useful one. That is one reason it is irritating to have reactionaries telling us ‘No no no no no, you have to be covert about it, all this frankness is a disaster and an outrage, get back in that closet at once.’
This is all just standard scapegoating from M and K. It’s so much easier to focus on a handful of writers who arrived on the scene just in the last few years and to ignore the deeper cultural forces that have tended to make America more hostile to science than other industrialized countries.
It’s scapegoating and worse – it’s become a full-throttle campaign to work up hatred and rage against atheism and atheists. Mooney and Kirshenbaum may not even realize that’s what it is, but if they don’t, they’re being very stupid and very reckless. They should be more aware and more careful. They should realize what kind of language they are using, and stop doing it. They should not, for instance, say that ‘The atheist biologist Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago, for instance, has drawn much attention by assaulting the center’s Faith Project’ – but that’s exactly what they do say. That’s very loaded language – loaded, provocative, misleading, and potentially dangerous. Like Jason, I find that vexing.