New Atheist Organization Condemns New Atheist Leader

Check it out:

Atheist Ireland is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of the atheist blogger PZ Myers.

The atheist organization then provides examples of Myers “hurtful and dehumanising rhetoric” followed by examples of his “hateful and violent rhetoric.” They then supply examples of Myers’ “unjust and defamatory rhetoric.”

So a New Atheist organization recognizes that Myers’ rhetoric has been hurtful, dehumanising, hateful, violent, unjust, and defamatory.

Hemany Mehta, the “Friendly Atheist” who once looked up to Myers and even endorsed Myers’ book, piles on. Mehta writes:

There’s a litany of Myers’ own words included in the statement and, if you’re not familiar with him, it’s not a pretty collection. For Myers, it’s not enough to merely say someone is wrong or to point out the problems with their arguments. He has to insult and embarrass them, too, even if the differences in opinion are relatively minimal. (I’ve often been on the receiving end of his tirades.) When the comments are compiled together, it’s no wonder Atheist Ireland wants nothing to do with him.

I get why people would rather avoid him. If you ever wanted to push back against something he said, it wasn’t just one guy with a blog you’d be upsetting. It’s a guy whose response would be over the top, whose blog has a large and dedicated following, and who acts as an accelerant for his often-anonymous and even more aggressive commenters.

A swarm of atheists then comment, trashing Myers with a recurring theme: “I once thought PZ Myers was great as he helped introduce me to atheism, but now I recognize him (and his fans) as hateful/mean/etc.” For example, one atheist commented:

Phryangula was my entry into the atheoblogs. Over time, I noticed that the horde was growing more and more authoritarian. Neutral comments or anything but the fullest throat endorsement of the abusive tactics was decried as misogyny.

I tried to bring up my concerns and PZ did change his comment policy to say let people post a few comments before you abuse them. That he ever needed such a rule is telling. He never enforced it and the insane horde never paid attention. I eventually moved to other FTB bloggers but even that was too close to the rampant hostility of PZ’s crew.

This development begs for commentary.

First, it’s nice to see so many atheists recognize Myers’ rhetoric is hurtful, dehumanising, hateful, violent, unjust, and/or defamatory. It’s also nice to see so many recognize the same goes for many of Myers’ fans. Of course, I, and many other religious people, figured this out over 10 years ago. I thought New Atheists were supposed to have the superior ability to detect reality. If that’s the case, why did it take them a decade to discover the obvious?

Second, this whole dispute underscores the moral bankruptcy of New Atheism. How so? The nature of PZ Myers’ rhetoric has not changed. All that has changed is that he has increased the number of his targets. Y’see, when Myers was dishing out his hurtful, dehumanising, hateful, violent, unjust, and/or defamatory rhetoric targeted at religious people (mostly Christian), people like Mehta and his fans were cheering, high-fiving, and helping to promote Myers attacks and publicity stunts. Back in that day, they helped to make Myers as popular as he was as they praised him for being clever, great with words and insults, hilarious, etc. It is only when the very same approach was aimed at them did then have this sudden revelation of Myers’ hate.

So you see, people like Mehta are not standing on any principle here. They have a history of cheering on hurtful, dehumanising, hateful, violent, unjust, and/or defamatory rhetoric. They have a history of endorsing such rhetoric. They just don’t like the taste of the medicine that they once so enjoyed seeing Myers dish out to the out-group.

Third, I have long informed you that the New Atheist movement is a modern-day hate movement. Now that we have seen so many atheists admit that one of their once-favored leaders has a history of dishing out hurtful, dehumanising, hateful, violent, unjust, and/or defamatory rhetoric, why is it so hard to admit this about the New Atheist movement as a whole? That such a person could become so popular in the New Atheist movement makes sense if the New Atheist movement is indeed a modern-day hate movement.

What’s more, while Myers’ rhetoric and approach may be among the most extreme, it’s not qualitatively different from the approach of people like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne. For example, Dawkins routinely hates on religious people by mocking them as “faith-heads.” And people like Mehta have no problem with this. Just like the good ol’ days when PZ Myers was “on their side.”

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7 Responses to New Atheist Organization Condemns New Atheist Leader

  1. mechanar says:

    the atheist community reminds me always of bioshock, how so? Well one man (richard dawkings) spread the word that he and people like him are the selected superior ones. So they got all together in one big place (the internet). And for a couple of years they had their little dream bubble to live in. But then more and more do to they one moral failings and the wrongness of many aspects of their philosophy the city started to crumble and they started to fight each other now many years later they have locked themself from the rest of the world and to any normal outsider its obvious what kind of caricature they actualy are. So there you have it the “brights” among their one and they can not stand each other. No imagine these People were not behind the keyboard but had actual real Political power like making laws etc. penn jillette once said that if Richard dawkings book does not change the world (which it did not) Then we will all be F”””. The oppisite is true we will all be F”” if this narrow simplistic view of the world gets accepted by enough People, if sam harris or Christopher hitchens (may he rest in peace) were the adviser of the president it would not take long until world war 3 would start I remind you these were People who would love to do nothing more than attack every muslim country As a preemptive strike against “the hordes” of Faith heads.

  2. TFBW says:

    It’s “Dawkins”, mechanar. “Hawking” and “Dawkins” often get conflated like that. Understandable, I guess.

  3. mechanar says:

    Oh yes of course my bad thank you TFBW

  4. UpstateIslandersFan says:

    I think this is a good example of the smug self-righteousness of a true believer. PZ Myers gives the impression of being a vile person, possesed with a wellspring of anger, and as even Joe Rogan noted, a person basking in the adulation of his equally rageaholic followers, who seem far less skeptical than they would have you believe. These are people who claim to embrace materialism and the pointlessness of the universe when it suits them and they can justify horrific behavior but still claim to care about social justice. But people like Dawkins, Coyne and the especially smug Mehta would gladly trump their righteousness certitude over others. In the end I trust these people less than fundamentalists, because they always seem to be a few inches away from declaring themselves the arbiters of truth. Though they may deny it anyone who claims teaching children about God is child abuse should naturally try to prevent it. The only wy that can be done logically is to criminalize a belief in a non material reality. As absurd as ot sounds, I think some of Dawkins’s followers would like to see that. In a way PZ Myers is just a more flamboyant version of a Coyne, a Mehta or Sam Harris. I hardly see these folks as tolerant and intellectually honest as they make themselves out to be. Their adherents are just as bad. Even the manner on which they attack other atheists like John Gray or Thomas Nagel for putting forward other perspectives. I don’t have it figured out myself, but these are not the type of people I particularly trust.

  5. Michael says:

    Well stated.

  6. Allallt says:

    Atheists admit PZ Myers is an arse (never been to his blog, no comment) and that is taken as evidence for New Atheism being a hate movement? If it was a hate movement the last thing you would expect would be dissent coming from within the ranks. The whole point is that atheists want to dissociate (even when they had no association) from exactly that kind of hate.

  7. Kevin says:

    The problem is that most of the atheists condemning Myers now only started doing so when he turned his hate onto other atheists. They not only had no problem with that same behavior being turned on Christians, they joined in. Hate is hate, so if Myers is currently an arse based on his behavior, then all of the New Atheists cheering him on against Christians were also arses.

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