Watch those assumptions

Josh Rosenau has reservations.

As I’ve said before, it’s hardly surprising that making a group more visible is a better way to build public acceptance than being less visible, and I support efforts to increase atheism’s visibility. But New Atheism is hardly the only way for atheists – or nontheists more generally – to get the word out that they’re here and want to be taken seriously.

Yes it is…at least under the most usual and obvious definition of that much-used pejorative label “New Atheism.” The minimal definition of “New Atheism” is, surely,  atheism that makes a point of increasing atheism’s visibility. “New Atheism” means getting the word out that atheists are here and want to be taken seriously. So how could it not be the only way to do exactly that? It’s like saying being a bus driver is not the only way to drive a bus. You could work up exceptions, but it would be a bit precious and otiose.

No it’s pretty clear that what Rosenau is doing here is simply assuming that “New Atheism” means “atheism that is rude and aggressive and strident and mean.” That is one assumption too many.

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