Posts Tagged ‘ The backlash ’

Scraping the barrel

Oct 24th, 2011 4:14 pm | By

Some fella says Richard Dawkins is bad and stupid and cynical and anti-intellectual because he refuses to debate William Lane Craig.


Well not the bad and stupid part, no, that’s my paraphrase, but it’s not far off; and the rest of it, yes, really.

Richard Dawkins is not alone in his refusal to debate with William Lane Craig. The vice-president of the British Humanist Association (BHA), AC Grayling has also flatly refused to debate Craig, stating that he would rather debate “the existence of fairies and water-nymphs”.

Yes, and? Are they required (morally though not legally) to debate anyone who asks? Are they not allowed to choose?

Given that there isn’t much in the way of serious argumentation

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

A tedious impasse

Oct 16th, 2011 4:47 pm | By

I see Julian has a new series at Comment is Free, Heathen’s Progress. (I saw it the other day via a post of Eric’s.) It’s about telling believers, atheists and agnostics how they’re all doing it wrong, and how to do it right.

In a debate that has been full of controversy and rancour, there is one assertion that surely most can agree with without dispute: the God wars have reached a tedious impasse, with all sides resorting to repetition of the same old arguments, which are met with familiar, unsatisfactory responses. This is a stalemate, with the emphasis firmly on “stale”.

Oh dear, I’m so bloody-minded. The first sentence of a long series, and one which says … Read the rest

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

Some on the left

Oct 10th, 2011 9:45 am | By

Another intimidation piece directed at journalists and researchers who write about dominionism, back in August. It’s in the Washington Post, which is a nice gig if you’re trying to intimidate people.

Here we go again. The Republican primaries are six months away, and already news stories are raising fears on the left about “crazy Christians.”

One piece connects Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a previously unknown Christian group called “The New Apostolic Reformation,” whose main objective is to “infiltrate government.” Another highlights whacko-sounding Christian influences on Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. A third cautions readers to be afraid, very afraid, of “dominionists.”

The stories raise real concerns about the world views of two prospective Republican nominees. But their

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

There’s probably no bus

Oct 9th, 2011 10:47 am | By

Oxford Christians tell Dawkins where to get off.

In 2009, atheists in London paid for 200 adverts on the city’s buses, declaring: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

Now Premier Christian Radio has paid for its own version on Oxford buses, after the distinguished evolutionary biologist turned down the chance to debate with Christian philosopher William Lane  Craig when he visits the city later in the month.

The new advert reads: “There’s probably no Dawkins. Now stop worrying and enjoy Oct 25th at the Sheldonian Theatre.”

The trouble with that as a witticism is that it isn’t true. It’s as if X taunts Y by saying “You flunked out of high school!” and Y … Read the rest

(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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Not a moment sooner, k?

Apr 21st, 2011 5:18 pm | By

David Barash wrote another pro-gnu-atheist post a couple of days ago, and Jacques Berlinerblau posted a chippy comment there. His comment was rather sinuous, but the upshot was that yes gnu atheists are just as horrible as everyone says so ha.

nsmyth made reference to “critical atheists” and she or he has perhaps finally identified the proper term to describe the many scholars who are nonbelievers themselves but who have serious reservations about New Atheist worldview.

These critical atheists–the list grows longer every day–are subjected to all manner of vitriol and invective by Gnus. Now, the infidel tradition is full of vitriol and invective so I am not entirely opposed to that sort of thing and not averse to giving

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Ruse rhymes with loose, he says so himself

Apr 9th, 2011 3:42 pm | By

Just a little note to point out the consistent rudeness and inaccuracy (to put it politely) of Michael Ruse.

I read one of the responses to my recent piece on Darwinism and the problem of evil. One of the junior new atheists — that is to say, not one of the big four of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris — took extreme umbrage to my picking on him (even more umbrage at my not naming him by name) and my suggesting that absolute reality might not correspond exactly to his worldview.

No he didn’t. Any “umbrage” he took was a good deal less extreme than the umbrage Ruse routinely takes at (not to: at) a … Read the rest

The yukkists

Mar 25th, 2011 3:42 pm | By

Man, it’s been a busy week for the gnu-hating crowd. There was Michael Ruse, then Jacques Berlinerblau, and now (it grieves me to say) Joseph Hoffmann. All three doing an extended yell of rage at “the new atheists” while seldom actually giving any specifics or quoting anyone or linking to anything, so that a reader could figure out exactly what they’re talking about. They do mention Dawkins and Harris, and Hoffmann quotes from a press release by the Center for Inquiry, but mostly there’s just a great deal of generalization.

Here’s Ruse:

I think the New Atheists are a disaster, a danger to the wellbeing of America comparable to the Tea Party.  It is not so much

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The people look like ants

Mar 23rd, 2011 12:27 pm | By

So how about that Jacques Berlinerblau eh?

He totally agrees with Michael Ruse that “new” atheists are equatable to the Tea Party, and wishes he’d said it first.

For those not familiar with their world-view, let me help you understand their central and timeless insight: Unless you as an atheist are willing to disparage all religious people, describe them all as imbeciles and creeps, mock every text and thinker they have ever produced, then you must be some sort of deluded, self-hating, sellout, subverting the rise of the Mighty Atheist Political Juggernaut (about which more anon).

Goodness; how very vulgar. Miss Manners does not, on second thought, believe she has very much to say about sheer vulgarity. Miss Manners is … Read the rest

Hardly a disaster

Mar 21st, 2011 4:38 pm | By

So now poor Michael Ruse has to write a petulant article (for Comment is Free this time? we don’t want to get out of sequence) saying that that horrid new atheist David Barash is mad at him, that he doesn’t care a bit, that he’s a brave contrarian who pisses off campus feminists and other bores who believe in equal rights, that he likes a good dust up, that he was in Arkansas testifying when everyone else was in nursery school, and that new atheists are a danger to the wellbeing of America comparable to the al Qaeda and the Westboro Baptist Church combined. That should take him at least ten minutes.

Barash was gobsmacked by Ruse’s

assertion that

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You people are so amusing, and a danger to the wellbeing of America

Mar 20th, 2011 12:01 pm | By

What, again? Yes, again. Yes, for the 14 thousandth time, Michael Ruse is telling us how angry with him “the new atheists” are, how right he is in spite of their anger, how wrong and bad and dangerous and immoral they are, how brave he is, and how right and brave and amusing and important he Michael Ruse is.

Oh dear, I am in trouble again with the New Atheists… I am being called all sorts of nasty things…Even I sometimes wonder why I am in such bad odor, apart from the fact that whenever I am confronted with people for whom disagreement is considered not just wrong but morally offensive my first tendency is to laugh and tease.

No … Read the rest

Hammill the prodigal

Mar 4th, 2011 11:38 am | By

Hammill, as I said in a comment earlier this morning, is Walter Smith, known as Wally, a graduate student in biology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

He said last summer that he would never do it again. He’s been doing it again.

He’s been sowing little seeds of hostility and paranoia and mistrust. He’s been ever so gently tarnishing the reputations of gnu atheists. Again.

For instance on this post, which of course drew him like a fly to honey, because it was both scornful and inaccurate about me. His kind of thing! (I don’t know why he hates me so particularly, given that I’m hardly the only vocal atheist out there, but he does.) He saw … 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