Sarah Paquette, a former student of Peter Boghossian, and someone involved in promoting the app that tells atheists what to say when they are debating, makes an interesting admission half-way through an otherwise boring interview: At 10:30, she says the following about Boghossian:
He had a seminar New Atheism but unfortunately I don’t think it’s coming back next year simply because the attendance was not high enough which is pretty….sad. It’s a loss.
I’m shocked. Boghossian’s New Atheism class was a flop.
Here’s how the class was sold:
Students in the “New Atheism” class critically examine Dawkins’ book A Devil’s Chaplain and write an article about it. Boghossian then selects the best pieces from the class and submits them to the foundation for potential publication on its website.
The class usually features a guest speaker each week, who discusses various topics related to the class, from intelligent design and creationism to Christianity and what new atheism actually is.
Boghossian said the class will also feature Skype lectures with a few famous people from around the world.
Boghossian hopes to bring in a couple of Christian and Muslim apologists, or defenders of faith, to speak with the class.
“We study the works of notable Christian apologists and Muslim apologists, and then we engage those ideas against a framework of critical rationality,” he said.
Boghossian said that this is not the kind of class that students should just take on a whim. If they are interested in the subject, there is a course titled “Atheism,” which he suggests students take if they have an interest.
“‘New Atheism’ is a very specialized course. It has prerequisites, and it assumes some familiarity with the content and subject matter,” Boghossian said. “Everyone in that class truly wants to be there.”
Wow. Studying Dawkins’s book and hearing from famous speakers around the world. The hope of getting published by the esteemed Dawkins Foundation. Everyone in that class truly wanted to be there.
Both of them, that is.