Eric MacDonald is not the only one this week to leave the New Atheist movement. Jon Overton is an atheist and an opinions columnist for the TheDailyIowan. He once found himself cheering the New Atheist leaders:
For some time, I idolized people like Stenger, Dawkins, the late writer Christopher Hitchens, the neuroscientist Sam Harris, and many of the other leading thinkers who made up the New Atheists. I saw them as gutsy, honest, and direct.
But no longer. Overton has decided to walk away from the New Atheists for pretty much the same reasons that MacDonald did.
It arrogantly attacks straw man versions of religion, while relying on invective:
But I ultimately realized that the bombastic, arrogant, take-no-prisoners mentality of the prominent New Atheists accomplished nothing.
Calling people idiots, throwing often misinterpreted scientific evidence at them, and building up straw-man arguments has been the typical strategy for prominent New Atheists.
New Atheism is just as dogmatic as religious fundamentalism:
Harris, Stenger, Dawkins, and Hitchens are/were extremely intelligent people and have been great public speakers and writers, but their rabid dogma makes them eerily similar to the fundamentalists they so thoroughly detest.
Overton also notes:
The New Atheists aren’t looking for a solution. They’re not trying to understand what religion does for people, figure out how it works, or even to effectively persuade religious people that they’re wrong. They’re only interested in calling people stupid, so they can feel smart and perhaps make a buck or two in the process.
The fringe status of New Atheism becomes more and more obvious every day. For not only are there many atheists who refused to join the New Atheist movement (the New Atheists mocked them as accomodationists and faitheists), now we are beginning to see a growing number of former New Atheists.