About

Even though this blog has been around since 2009, I rarely updated it for most of its life. And when I did, I primarily expressed my annoyance with the misuse of science as some type of weapon against religion and explained how evolution, even the most rigorous non-teleological version one could imagine, posed no problem for Christianity. But things changed in March of 2012. Ever since then, I have updated this blog on a fairly regular basis, the readership has grown, and I have primarily focused on the New Atheists. So why the change?

Simple. Back in March 2012, I became aware of the Reason Rally and Dawkins publicly advocating that religious believers be denigrated. It became clear there was an Anti-Religious Movement. And that’s significant. For example, there are a bunch of web pages out there that advocate astrology. Who cares? But if there was some type of Astrology Movement that sought to denigrate non-astrologers, and this movement was being led by popular authors and web sites, along with various members within academia, I would take notice. And the same thing applies to the atheists. Atheists are entitled to their opinions, but when they form a movement that seeks to denigrate religious people in a culture that is becoming increasingly secularized, you get my attention. Since there is a real anti-religion movement out there, ignoring it doesn’t seem to be an option, as there is a decent chance someone I know and care about might eventually come to me parroting a New Atheist talking point. How shall I respond?

I decided to plug into the debate and remain knowledgeable and up-to-date about the movement and its arguments. That way, if someone I care about does come to me spouting some New Atheist talking point, I will be better informed and prepared. As just one example, if someone comes to me making Dawkins “science shows that God’s existence is really, really unlikely” and “there is no evidence for God” arguments, I’m equipped to help that person understand the context of these arguments.

I think it important that people understand the New Atheists are not simply a bunch of scholars, scientists, and skeptics who dare to question religion. That’s the illusion the movement tries to sell. It’s important to see those arguments through the prism of the movement, as those who sell the talking points are activists and apologists with a hateful agenda.

Because of spending time on this blog, if I encounter the movement’s talking points coming from the mouths of friend or family, I think I am better able to help them see that atheism is a subjective opinion and New Atheism comes with a mean-spirited and intolerant agenda. If they want go down that road, I cannot stop them. But I can help make it clear than any decision to walk that road is not born from reason and some “commitment to evidence.”

So this is not an anti-atheism blog nor is it a Christian apologetics blog. This is a blog that keeps a critical eye on the New Atheist movement and focuses on the narrative the New Atheists are trying to spread and entrench. And while the New Atheists are a fringe minority who occupy the extreme ends of the spectrum, they do have allies and sympathetic ears in mainstream media and academia (the major opinion shapers of our culture). So my main reason for posting is to help myself and others to better understand the New Atheist movement and its narrative.

8 Responses to About

  1. cl says:

    Hi there.

    I notice a bit of regular traffic from this blog to mine, yet, I can’t figure out why. Any ideas?

    By the way, I’m a fan, lurker, reader, etc. I think I may have left a comment or two on your stellar “Collins does more science than the Gnus combined” graph-post, but that’s it.

    Any ideas what might account for the traffic? I’m just curious.

  2. Dhay says:

    The obvious answer is that when you filled in your poster details, you also filled in your website details; as a result, your “cl” (at the head of each response you make) is coloured and underlined, and functions as a link to your website.

  3. Martin tuelay says:

    You are so F’d up. Atheism, as a whole, is a hate movement because you don’t like Dawkins beliefs? You _really_ are afraid that Atheists are evil incarnate. Every additional word you type allows your paranoia to fester, and you are gleeful when you can get 4 Biblically-blinded sheep to nod in agreement with you.
    Your _entire_ Atheism collection repeatedly attacks the same tiny group of people while spouting “ALL Atheists are EXACTLY like these 5 guys”.
    Your journalistic skills are minor league at best and I seriously believe you are probably the type of person I would not enjoy sharing a beer with.

  4. Bilbo says:

    Hi Martin,

    That very last comment probably hurt Mike the most since his number one secret wish has been to share a beer with you.

  5. osolev says:

    That is one of the mantras of atheists, that not all atheists are the same, that each atheist is different; however, it is obvious they are the same, all under a siege mentality and react not with reason but with hatred against their critical observers.

  6. I’m intrigued by your posts. I admit, I’ve only read a few of them, so I’d like to ask a few questions:

    Since any atheism movement would by definition be “anti-religious”, would you flip that argument around and say that any religious movement would have to be, again by definition, “anti-secular”? As a followup question, would you condemn people of faith when they claim atheists are evil and immoral simply because they don’t accept a supernatural element in the Universe?

    Is your opposition to atheism more an opposition to it as a (semi) organized movement, or are you opposing atheism completely? In other words, are you just upset about atheism when it’s vocal and gets press?

    Assuming that you’re suggesting a discussion from a rational point of view, what would you like to see happen with the atheist movement? Would atheism be more acceptable to you if it were less derogatory towards believers?

    What, in your opinion, differentiates the New Atheism from the old?

    I’d really like to hear your thoughts on these issues. Thank you.

    Hatch

  7. Michael says:

    Since any atheism movement would by definition be “anti-religious”, would you flip that argument around and say that any religious movement would have to be, again by definition, “anti-secular”?

    If an atheism movement, by definition, must be anti-religious, does that mean atheists, by definition, are anti-religious? I know that when I was an atheist, I was not anti-religious.

    As a followup question, would you condemn people of faith when they claim atheists are evil and immoral simply because they don’t accept a supernatural element in the Universe?

    Yep. People are not evil and immoral simply because they don’t accept a supernatural element in the Universe.

    Is your opposition to atheism more an opposition to it as a (semi) organized movement, or are you opposing atheism completely? In other words, are you just upset about atheism when it’s vocal and gets press?

    I don’t have “an opposition to atheism.” I focus on a movement whose leaders argue, for example:

    - being raised a Catholic is worse than being sexually abused (Dawkins)
    - we should make it illegal to raise children in a religious tradition (Coyne)
    - religious faith is a dangerous brain virus that needs to be quarantined (Boghossian)

    Do you agree with these positions?

    Assuming that you’re suggesting a discussion from a rational point of view, what would you like to see happen with the atheist movement?

    It would be nice to see its leaders make an attempt at being intellectually honest. And to see both the leaders and followers try to practice what they preach.

    Would atheism be more acceptable to you if it were less derogatory towards believers?

    If someone wants to be an atheist, that is acceptable to me. What’s unacceptable is a movement of atheists built around hate, bigotry, and intolerance.

    What, in your opinion, differentiates the New Atheism from the old?

    Hate, bigotry, intolerance, extremism melded to the quest for power.

  8. Michael: “If an atheism movement, by definition, must be anti-religious, does that mean atheists, by definition, are anti-religious? I know that when I was an atheist, I was not anti-religious.”

    Hatch: No. Atheism is lack of belief. Atheists don’t have to be anti-religious at all. But when it becomes a movement there are certain principles that bind the individual members together. The belief that religion is negative would be one of these principles. Therefore, atheists movements are anti-religious.
    __

    Michael: “Yep. People are not evil and immoral simply because they don’t accept a supernatural element in the Universe.”

    Hatch: We are in agreement.
    __

    Michael: “I don’t have “an opposition to atheism.” I focus on a movement whose leaders argue, for example:
    – being raised a Catholic is worse than being sexually abused (Dawkins)
    – we should make it illegal to raise children in a religious tradition (Coyne)
    – religious faith is a dangerous brain virus that needs to be quarantined (Boghossian)
    Do you agree with these positions?”

    Hatch:I don’t know that these statements are takin in context (I doubt it), but that’s neither here nor there.

    I don’t agree with the positions, although I believe that religious instruction of children does largely constitute brainwashing to a certain degree. I believe in freedom of thought and of/from religion, but I would rather see religion destroyed by force of well reasoned argument than by quarantine or legislation.
    —–

    Michael: “It would be nice to see its leaders make an attempt at being intellectually honest. And to see both the leaders and followers try to practice what they preach. ”

    Hatch: Can you give me specific examples of intellectual dishonest and hypocrisy? It’s not a challenge, just a question.
    _________

    Michael: “If someone wants to be an atheist, that is acceptable to me. What’s unacceptable is a movement of atheists built around hate, bigotry, and intolerance.”

    Hatch: Kudos. I’m an atheist and sometime blogger and I’ve been very critical of some of the louder voices in the atheist movement for intolerance and even dogmatism. It’s been one of my biggest topics, in fact.

    It must be remembered, however, that if you are able to judge an entire movement by the words or actions of a handful of its adherents, then the religious should be subject to the same criticisms. That would lead us to ask why the vast majority of convicts and death row inmates in the US are Christian. But I welcome your pointing out things you think are hypocritical or insincere–as long as you’re being consistent and sincere yourself.
    ——

    Hatch: “What, in your opinion, differentiates the New Atheism from the old?”

    Michael: “Hate, bigotry, intolerance, extremism melded to the quest for power.”

    Hatch: I have to disagree here. There’s nothing new about the “new” atheism other than the fact that it is largely unapologetic and unafraid to challenge the religious status quo. It challenges the silly notion that criticism of religion is somehow out-of-bounds in social discourse, as though the fact that millions of people believe something that is obviously untrue should be overlooked simply because that belief is associated with a religious teaching. All ideas are subject to scrutiny and criticism. When religion is criticized, its critics are called hateful bigots. When atheists are shunned or discriminated against, well, nothing much happens.

    Curious though, where’s the quest for power?

    —-

    Thanks for the exchange. It’s nice to find someone on the other side of the fence who is willing to engage without losing their mind.

    Hatch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s