Atheist John Gray wrote a lengthy essay that raises several powerful criticisms of the New Atheists and their anti-religious movement. The New Atheist’s push a narrative that is ahistorical, trying to create the illusion that atheism is nothing more than some relatively recent discovery of science. Gray undermines that narrative by outlining some of atheism’s historical context that is ignored or downplayed by the New Atheists. You can tell the piece is threatening to the Gnus by the responses from their leaders.
For example, Sam Harris responds with mockery:
LOL! Yes, Sam Harris, of all people, mocks someone else for having “too much time on his hands.”
Then there is activist Jerry Coyne. He writes:
Gray’s piece is not worth reading, is not important, and therefore is not worth analyzing.
Translation – Angry Coyne is seething because he doesn’t know how to respond. Further evidence of this comes from his follow-up criticism:
It’s not only too long and makes no new arguments, but is also terribly written. Gray has yet to master the art of writing lively (or even readable) prose, and thus he begins his piece like this—a lesson on how not to draw the reader into your article:
How catty. Unable to deal with the substance of Gray’s article, Coyne, lashes out at…..style. And how did Gray begin his article? Coyne posts it:
In 1929, the Thinker’s Library, a series established by the Rationalist Press Association to advance secular thinking and counter the influence of religion in Britain, published an English translation of the German biologist Ernst Haeckel’s 1899 book The Riddle of the Universe. Celebrated as “the German Darwin”, Haeckel was one of the most influential public intellectuals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; The Riddle of the Universe sold half a million copies in Germany alone, and was translated into dozens of other languages.
Does anyone other than Coyne have trouble reading that? That Coyne struggled with it suggests he has watched too many cat videos over the last few years. Oh, and he didn’t include the entire first paragraph. Have a look at the last half that he surgically excised:
Hostile to Jewish and Christian traditions, Haeckel devised his own “religion of science” called Monism, which incorporated an anthropology that divided the human species into a hierarchy of racial groups. Though he died in 1919, before the Nazi Party had been founded, his ideas, and widespread influence in Germany, unquestionably helped to create an intellectual climate in which policies of racial slavery and genocide were able to claim a basis in science.
I think we can now begin to see why Coyne wants people to believe “Gray’s piece is not worth reading.”
Finally, Coyne ends his post with this little dig:
Of course Gray has a new book to sell, which is why he wrote this over-long screed in the first place.
LOL! Me thinks Coyne is projecting.
Anyway, hats off to John Gray for writing an essay that caused the New Atheist leaders to run away.