Last year, I cited some evidence that suggested the New Atheism movement was past its peak and was beginning to fade into insignificance. This year, it sure looks like the New Atheism movement continues that trend. Consider some basic facts.
In May 2015, Jerry Coyne published his book, Faith vs. Fact. Even though Coyne’s previous book was a NYT best seller, and Coyne was a credentialed fresh face representing New Atheism to the general public through a mainstream publisher, his new book never made the NYT’s best seller list and was essentially ignored outside the atheist community. In fact, neither Harris or Dawkins bothered to promote it much. Today, Coyne’s blog seems to focus more on animal pictures and other forms of click bait than atheist screeds and he has even recently agreed to tone down his stridency.
In September 2015, Richard Dawkins published the second volume of his autobiography. Despite being so popular among the atheists and so skilled at promoting his products, Dawkins’ book never made the NYT best sellers list and has largely been ignored outside the circle of his culture war allies. In fact, it only has a mere 21 reviews on amazon.com, several with the same complaints
This book is simply a bunch of mostly silly stories with a lot of self promoting statements (he constantly mentions one of his previous books every other page!). I enjoyed reading The Selfish Gene and I loved The God Delusion. But, this is a silly book with no scientific content. I consider Richard Dawkins to be an excellent scientists with a well deserved recognition due to his scientific work. But, this book was a great disappointment and a waste of time to read,
Too much of the book consists of the author dropping names.
Richard has done a lot of great work,but his one makes him redundant.
So while Dawkins continues to be under attack for his oddball tweets, his One Trick Pony show is starting to bore some of his adoring fans
In October 2015, Sam Harris co-authored a new book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance. While he has a significant fan base that buys whatever he writes, and being the son of a Hollywood TV show producer, clearly has many media connections, his book too has largely been ignored and never made the NYT best seller list. Harris has also been the subject of blistering critiques from large websites, including articles such as Can anyone save atheism from New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris? and Sam Harris can’t be redeemed: Ben Carson, Noam Chomksy and the defining hypocrisy of the New Atheist movement and Sam Harris’s Quantum Universe (or, How to Say One Thing While Meaning Another). Finally, after failing miserably to achieve its stated objectives, it sure looks like Harris’s Project Reason is in the gradual process of closing up shop.
As for PZ Myers, no new book and his once mega-popular atheist blog now struggles to get more than 20 comments per blog entry. And Myers does spend a portion of his time attacking Sam Harris.
Last year I asked, ” So we must begin to wonder – is New Atheism past its peak?”
I think we are in a stronger position to answer that question – Yes. We can tell because after all these years, it’s the same people writing books and promoting themselves and each other year after year. And the reach of their message seems to progressively dwindle to the point of where they are mostly talking to each other.
So why do you think the New Atheist movement is fading away?