More Evidence that New Atheists are Enslaved to Stereotypes

New Atheists claim they are led by evidence and reason, yet they are so enslaved to their stereotypes that is is obvious reason and evidence serve only their confirmation bias. This explains why they are so easily Poe’d. Case in point – New Atheist JT Eberhard was taken in by a troll that was impersonating Kim Davis:

Kim Davis, along with her handlers, is trying to prop herself up as a modern day civil rights hero. Starting by denying a minority their civil rights was a pretty silly way to go about it, but I digress. Twenty minutes ago Davis’ husband tweeted her “letter from a Carter County jail.”….. I showed this to a high school teacher friend of mine. His response was “I have a Masters degree and I’m a high school teacher and this woman makes three times as much as I.” Look, I try really hard to focus on the arguments, but sometimes there’s just nothing else to say: Kim Davis is an abject idiot who harbors delusions of both morality and grandeur. That’s really all there is to say.

When one of Eberhard’s readers noted it looked like a Poe, Eberhard assured him:

It’s not. It’s her actual twitter she made. Her husband has been running it. I’ve been monitoring it. It’s legit.

Of course, the Twitter account was a troll (that also fooled a NYT reporter and Mother Jones).

Herman Mehta (the so-called Friendly Atheist) is the one who sounded the alarm, by outlining the evidence that the letter/twitter account was fake. So why did Mehta put a spotlight on the deception? He writes:

Why spoil the fun? Because people are spreading bullshit when there’s plenty to criticize in real life. We don’t need to resort to mocking this letter — and the supposed ignorance and lack of education it conveys — in order to criticize Davis’ beliefs.

It’s easy to get taken in by this stuff. I almost did, too. But it’s not that hard to find evidence that it’s all fake.

It’s easy to get taken in by this stuff when your brain is enslaved to stereotypes and confirmation bias props up those stereotypes by looking for things to blog about. So was Mehta standing on principle here? I doubt it, as the same reasoning he uses to spot the Kim Davis troll could have been used to spot the trolls in the “hate mail” video from Dawkins that Mehta promoted (see Dhay’s recent comment).

I think Mehta blew the whistle on this when it started to go viral for fear that it would hurt his precious movement. After all, if Dawkins began to tweet about it and Coyne began blog about it, the last thing the New Atheist movement needs is yet even more laughing at its leaders.

UPDATE: It turns out Jerry Coyne did fall for it. I’d say its pretty clear Mehta was trying to stop the bleeding.

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10 Responses to More Evidence that New Atheists are Enslaved to Stereotypes

  1. Kevin says:

    I was actually introduced to New Atheism by JT since he and I are from the same area and were posting on out local newspaper forum. Wasn’t impressed with his arguments then, less impressed these days.

  2. Michael says:

    Well, he should talk to his English teacher friend about his own writing. Check out the last sentence (which he highlighted himself):

    Wow, yeah, that twitter account is a parody. It’s the most subtle troll ever, but it’s a troll. This whole letter should be disregarded as it’s highly unlikely Kim Davis didn’t write it.

    BTW, it was not a subtle troll. It was a clumsy, obvious troll. It was subtle to Eberhard only because it so perfectly conformed to the stereotypes that control his brain.

  3. Kevin says:

    I’ve gotten into it with him on FB a few times over the grammatical necessity of capitalizing “God” when referring to the Christian deity. He calls it “effective communication”, believing it to convey a lack of respect. I agree that it is effective communication, but it’s not the message he believes it is sending lol.

  4. Kevin says:

    Even one of his commenters called him on his bad grammar about Davis haha

  5. The original Mr. X says:

    I love how half the commenters are trying to invoke Poe’s Law in some way or another. Because you see, Christians are still the stupid ones! Really!

  6. GRA says:

    >>I’ve been monitoring it.

    Atheists and leftists tend to monitor twitter accounts and blogs that run opposite to their beliefs. It’s not to learn, it’s to see what the “bigoted, backwards, knuckle-dragging neanderthals” write. They monitor out of contempt. It’s a strange habit that I have noticed amongst Eberhard’s kind. Christian’s who gain notoriety through blown-up media releases are practically considered terrorists and are put on watch. The most vitriol and bitterness have usually come from people non-believers. Go figure.

  7. Larry Olson says:

    “yet they are so enslaved to their stereotypes”

    Calling a group “new atheists” is a stereotype itself. You are enslaved by your clever labels to persecute a group who isn’t even a group in the first place. There is no new atheist community, each atheist has his own views – they don’t all hold the same views. Some atheists are socialists, some are free market libertarians, some are centrists, some like cats, some like dogs, some believe there is no moral truth that science can discover, some are agnostic and are not new atheists but rather new agnostic skeptics. Some non religious people like myself, are even open to the idea of a Deist god (but don’t believe in it, just are open to it) or a programmer who programmed this universe, or Nick Bostrom’s arguments.

    Dawkins is one of those people open to the idea that the universe was created by other life forms, but he doesn’t focus much on that idea since his study is of evolutionary biology. It is possible some alien or even a God developed a simulation of evolution and physics in a computer system – but it certainly is not a caring personal god since he allows millions of people to starve in africa daily.

    Those who defend starving in africa, by blaming free will for it (or other excuses), are certainly deluded selfish people (upper or middle class people sitting in their arm chairs). Certainly, the starving to death in africa must be because God designed us that way. It all make sense. God designed a car to get all sort of flat tires and run out of gasoline as soon as it heads on the road. Perfect design. If there is a God it certainly is the exact opposite of perfect. A flawed God is likely not a God – it’s a careless alien, a careless A.I., or you must bend your definition of God to no longer be a perfect personal caring God, but just a flawed experimental (idiot) god, like an ape who understands math but not suffering.

  8. Larry Olson says:

    capitalizing LOL is essential when reading this smear campaign website. Why do you use lol and not LOL? after all this website is hilarious, and deserves LOL, not lol. God, or god. Oops what’s the difference. Dog or god. Same thing.

  9. TFBW says:

    I’m calling “Poe” on Larry, just to be on the safe side.

  10. Isaac says:

    Yeah, Larry does seem like the negative stereotype of a basement-dwelling internet atheist. Thinks that this blog is a “smear campaign,” types like a 13-year old, thinks that “God spelled backwards is dog” is a clever observation. Quite possibly a fake-atheist Poe, if such a thing exists.

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