Posts Tagged ‘ “New” atheism ’

New Atheists since 1881

Jun 7th, 2012 3:45 pm | By

Also – I have a new gig. I get to be a columnist for The Freethinker.

Cutting”, “abrasive”, “sarcastic”, “offensive” … These are just some of the words used to describe the Freethinker magazine, which was launched in Britain in 1881 and has continued publishing without a break ever since. But it was the word “blasphemous”, dropped from the lips of a hostile judge, that that got its founder and first editor G.W. Foote into serious trouble. As a result mainly of irreligious cartoons published in the Christmas, 1882, edition, the judge declared the issue “blasphemous” and Foote was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

But the magazine, under caretaker editor Edward E Aveling, kept rolling off

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(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The real problem is new atheism

Jun 26th, 2011 12:04 pm | By

Nick Cohen has a terrific, ferocious piece on Trevor Phillips’s failure, indeed refusal, to do anything about caste discrimination in the UK. Since Phillips is the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, this failure/refusal is striking as well as tragic.

Nick starts by clearing some stupid lumber out of the way.

You can tell that speakers are preparing to say something scandalous when they assert that “militant atheists” are the moral equivalents of the religious militants that so afflict humanity. Trevor Phillips, whose flighty management of the Equality and Human Rights Commission is becoming a scandal, was no exception when he announced last week that British believers were “under siege” from “fashionable” atheists.

Trevor Phillips’s

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Oh hai, why can’t the new atheists be nice?

Apr 27th, 2011 5:18 pm | By

Why can’t they, asks “interfaith” atheist (don’t ask me, I don’t know how that works) Chris Stedman via a guest post on his blog by someone called Karla McLaren. He says “It’s a hugely informative and clear-eyed assessment of the state of the atheist movement.” I don’t agree. I think it’s just the 14 millionth installment of “new atheists are bad and mean ick.”

Atheism, McLaren informs us, is more visible thanks to those books by the four New Ones, or as she calls them, “the Fractious Four.” Yes really.

I call them the Fractious Four, which has a cool superhero ring to it (even though their superpower is to argue with everybody).

Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris have written polemics

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Be really nice to the people who are telling you to hush

Apr 26th, 2011 12:52 pm | By

Stephanie Z has an excellent comment on Josh Rosenau’s post about how I’m totally wrong about what he means by “the New Atheism.”

It’s worth remembering where this debate came from. Atheists, only recently starting to stand up and be counted in any number, are seeing the people who have been saying the same things that atheists have been saying for centuries (as noted in comment 5, then largely ignored) being told to hush up because they’re being noticed for once and that’s making trouble. These are frequently also the people who gave your rank-and-file atheist the courage to come out and who provide sympathy when coming out results in the crap it always results in. But hush, because what

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Oh yes you did, oh no I didn’t

Apr 24th, 2011 12:22 pm | By

Curious incidents on the Open Letter to the NCSE and BCSE thread at Jerry Coyne’s. 428 comments at present and counting. A guy called Roger Stanyard, who works for the BCSE and has lately been telling Jerry and co. to stop dissing religion because, tried to explain about how the UK is different from the US. This was entirely beside the point, as several people tried to explain in return, but Stanyard doesn’t listen good.

Those of us that run the BCSE have no mandate or freedom whatsover to back New Atheism. A goodly number of our members are religious, or indifferent to religion or are uncomfortable with New Atheism.

If we limited membership to New Atheists we wouldn’t

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Why are atheists so angry?

Mar 11th, 2011 11:28 am | By

Rabbi David Wolpe pretends to be mystified that atheists find theism irritating.

How harmless is it to post an article about why people should read the bible on a site devoted to religion? I did on this very page, and it evoked more than 2,000 responses, most of them angry…

It is curious that a religion site draws responses mostly from atheists, and that the atheists are very unhappy…Only the untutored assume that religious people predominate on websites (Huffington Post Religion page, On Faith in the Washington Post, devoted to religion.

He thinks a section of a website is itself a website, or he pretends to think that so that he can claim that the religion section of … Read the rest

New albigensianism

Oct 17th, 2010 11:57 am | By

The gnu atheist-haters have been having a busy weekend. Yesterday Michael Ruse told us, after saying that he took Philip Kitcher’s article seriously even though he disagreed with it, and wouldn’t be writing about it if he didn’t –

(Actually, as a general rule that is just not true. I write about the New Atheists, even though I don’t think their position is worth taking seriously at all. Or rather, I accept many of the conclusions, but I think the arguments are lousy. But I write about the New Atheists because I think their hateful attitude towards believers is a potential force for great social and moral evil.)

And today Julian Baggini told us about the way atheism is … Read the rest

Throw physic to the dogs

Oct 14th, 2010 12:33 pm | By

There’s a funny little sub-group of gnu atheist-hating atheists, who claim to find gnu atheists stupid and worthless and contemptible beyond belief, yet can’t stop talking about them. I’ve started making bets with myself. “She says this is enough about the gnu atheists for now…but I bet she won’t be able to ignore that post by Jason Rosenhouse.” I’ve been winning all my bets. The sub-group is very predictable. They’re like “You’re Not Helping” that way – after awhile I knew what YNH was going to be talking about next, and YNH always obliged.

They hate hate hate certain gnu atheists – and oh man do they hate the “gnu atheists” joke – yet those very gnu atheists set … Read the rest

Oh if only we could learn to doubt

Oct 8th, 2010 10:55 am | By

More dopy mindless generalization about “New Atheism” at Comment is Free Belief, this batch courtesy of Ed Halliwell.

Almost two weeks on from the After New Atheism event at the RSA and the trail seems to have gone cold. It sounded so promising – the setup from a humanist writer professing his boredom with the stagnancy of debate…And yet it didn’t quite happen. As Mark Vernon reported, the evening itself was a bit of a damp squib, and normal service has been resumed on comment threads, with Caspar Melville – the aforementioned humanist – understandably crying foul at the pummelling he received for daring to call for more listening and less braying.

Yes, but as we know, Caspar Melville … Read the rest

Baying for blood? Moi?

Jul 10th, 2010 12:50 pm | By

Are the few people who commented on JK’s post on the Toxic Sock affair really (though metaphorically) “participants in [a] witch-hunt” and “the 21st century, virtual-world, equivalent of a medieval mob baying for the blood their latest victim”?


I can see why they (we – I was one) look like a crowd, because there are quite a few comments and they are critical and sometimes hostile. On the other hand, there are only (if I counted correctly) 23 people total, not counting Jean, and a few of them are friendly; there’s a total of 63 comments. So a rush of mostly-critical comments, yes; a mob baying for blood, no.

But more to the point: are we the Bad People? … Read the rest

Et tu AAAS?

Jun 26th, 2010 4:54 pm | By

Jen McCreight of Blag Hag is at the Evolution 2010 conference in Portland and she went to a 2 hour symposium on Communication this morning. It started well, with Robert Pennock giving some good advice…but then…

But it quickly went downhill. Much of the talk was about distancing support of evolution from atheistic views – that we need to stress that religion and science is compatible so people in the “middle” can still accept theistic evolution. That people are more willing to accept evolution if they hear it from their pastor. He lauded Francis Collins and the BioLogos foundation for being pro-evolution…even though BioLogos just had a piece trying to reconcile Biblical Adam and Eve with evolution.

Well that … Read the rest

More lessons in civility

Jun 17th, 2010 11:21 am | By

Backlash against “new” atheists, chapter 479,811.

We were initially surprised that our co-authored book, Unscientific America, was so strongly attacked for observing that scientists should strive to improve their skills at public communication–and that this probably includes not alienating potential religious allies or mainstream America. But in a sense, the attacks made a kind of sense. Mostly, they came from those for whom this advice ran contrary to their particular project of denouncing much of America and the world for alleged ignorance and superstition–the New Atheists.

That’s “backlash” because it’s untrue, and distorted, and misleading. It’s dishonest and unreasonable, and those qualities make it backlash as opposed to disagreement or criticism. It is of course entirely possible to … Read the rest

A schism between the nice people and the demons

Jun 13th, 2010 12:26 pm | By

Another columnist does a bang-up job of describing explicit atheists in such a way that everyone will take care to hate them.

the split also underscores a serious and widening schism in the broader community of non-believers, between those who want civil engagement with people of faith, and even cooperation where possible, and atheist “fundamentalists” (as Kurtz and the old guard call them) — true believers in godlessness who belittle religion and religious people at every turn, and yet by doing so can wind up sounding like the very enemy they are trying to defeat.

That’s wrong. It’s false. It’s inaccurate. We are not “fundamentalists” in any meaningful sense, we do not belittle religion and religious people at every Read the rest

Fresh deep boundaries

May 31st, 2010 11:02 am | By

Andrew Brown spots another opportunity to piss on “the new atheism” and pounces on it with his usual cheerful malice.

…the new atheism, with its constant use of “religion” as a term which means something (nasty) is an attempt at social construction. In particular it’s an attempt to make fresh deep boundaries between ingroup and outgroup.

Yes, in some senses, and partly. But one could say the same thing about the civil rights movement; about science; about feminism; about scholarship; about liberalism; about conservatism; about any human endeavor with actual specific articulated ideas or truth-claims. And it might and should occur to Brown that religion too is very often an attempt to make fresh deep boundaries between ingroup and outgroup, … Read the rest

New sandbox rules

May 24th, 2010 12:32 pm | By

Karl Giberson explains about political science in the US and what it means for how we have to behave:

America has a complex and enduring commitment to pluralism. We want people to be free to act — and believe — as they please. But we must all play in the same sandbox, so we are attentive to the idiosyncrasies of our playmates, especially when they don’t make sense to us.

By “attentive” it turns out he means we don’t disagree with them, and by “idiosyncrasies” it turns out he means beliefs, no matter how unreasonable and arbitrary and evidence-free. So we must all play in the same sandbox, meaning, apparently, that we must all spend our lives three inches from … Read the rest

For the record

Apr 27th, 2010 9:15 am | By

It gets more and more tedious, but it can’t be helped – or it can be helped but it shouldn’t be. The relentless brainless dishonest denigration of “New” atheists has to be shown up for what it is every damn time it happens. It may be futile to say “That’s a lie, and that is, and that is, and that’s another”; it may just entrench the lies even deeper (depressingly, there is research that indicates this is what happens); but it has to be done, if only for the record. (What record? Oh shut up.)

Michael McGhee, Comment is Free (sugar and tea, rainbows at sea, la de da dee).

I am not a believer. I incline towards a secular

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Believers don’t believe in God *

Apr 27th, 2010 | Filed by

Oh and by the way new atheists are bad and wrong.… Read the rest

Be Quieters v atheists

Apr 25th, 2010 12:36 pm | By

It reminds me of the old Bugs Bunny line – “Of course you know, this means war.”

This means war. The grotesque punishment meted out to Harry Taylor might as well be an official government announcement that atheists have no rights.

It is a common accusation that the “new” atheists are bullies who gang up on poor innocent bystanders like Mooney and De Dora and other Be Quieters.

Well – not so fast. Let’s pause and consider. Who exactly is bullying whom?

Which is the majoritarian view? Which is the conventional wisdom? Atheism? Hardly. No, the majoritarian conventional wisdom is, at the very least, that religion deserves an almost infinite amount of “respect” and that any atheist who falls short … Read the rest