Hope For the New Atheists?

Over the last couple of years, I have documented the demise of the New Atheist movement.  And as we have seen over the last eight years, without their Common Enemy to focus their negativity, the internet atheist community consistently lashed out at each other for a variety of reasons.  For just one example, Sam Harris has accused PZ Myers of being the “shepherd of Internet trolls” while Myers has accused Harris of being a racist and a sexist.   They have also accused each other of being liars.

But these days, Myers and Harris, along with various other New Atheist pontificators speak with the same apoplectically apocalyptic rhetoric.  In fact, Tweety Dawk seems to be waking from his slumber.   The reason?  President-elect Trump.

Could a Trump presidency actually heal all the wounds in the New Atheist community?  Will Dawkins and Myers be able to rekindle their bromance?

Stay tuned…….

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12 Responses to Hope For the New Atheists?

  1. Let’s hope the socially-challenged autistic community can come together over a new foe.

    Still, the infighting was hilarious and will be missed

  2. RegualLlegna says:

    Yes, New Atheist movement are reactionaries, without something they can call “threat” they don’t exist as “atheist” or don’t have any reason to use the “atheist” label as personal identificator. Whithout threat they return to be apathetic people in the topic of religion, because they can’t have something to talk about something they don’t have (like: religious culture, religious faith, religious dogma, religious practices, religious conviction, religious community, etc.).

    Remember when they claim Freedom of Religion in cultural, political and commnunity sense for atheist with one hand and with the other they claim that atheist is not a religion (that means that any laws about religion or religious related matter cannot be applied to “atheism”, the same way they don’t applied to something simply called “theism”, “deism”, “pandeism”, “panentheism”, “eutheism”, “maltheism”, “polytheism”, “autotheism”, “omnism”, “dystheism”, etc.).

    If they found a common ground to accuse The President of United States, Donald Trump, of “Religion for New Atheist tm” logic then they will prove to me that they social movement is based only in something political gain “because secularism/humanism”. The mask of these new atheists are abviously secualrism, humanism and empiriscism, other wise they are, in they own logic, usingt those labels then they are “non-atheists tm”.

  3. Crude says:

    Could a Trump presidency actually heal all the wounds in the New Atheist community?

    Since that time, a very sizable chunk of the atheist community has split decisively. Atheist+/SJW Atheists and anti-SJW atheists hate each other. And Trump managed to make minor gains among the irreligious, despite running with VP Pence, and being more over the top with pro-life rhetoric than we’ve seen in a while.

    A lot of things have changed. I’m not sure the cards are right for the New Atheists anymore.

  4. TFBW says:

    I think Crude is on the right track here. It’s certainly not obvious that Trump is sufficient as a common enemy for the New Atheists. While the anti-Trump rhetoric is being laid on thick from some quarters, like Dawkins, there’s plenty of blaming going on within the camp in relation to the loss. Dhay linked to this Coyne blog post as an example of that in another thread. They might be uniformly against Trump, but they weren’t (and aren’t) uniformly for Clinton, so there’s some internal blame to be allocated on that basis.

    If I had to bet one way or the other, I’d say that there will be no reunification. The factions might share a common enemy, and thus concentrate fire in the same direction from time to time, but they’ll continue to snipe at each other in between times.

  5. Kevin says:

    I do like the arguments in the comment section of Coyne’s post. Some are saying that Coyne should not have criticized Clinton because that accomplished nothing but discouraging people from voting for her. It’s interesting that they think religious people should be confronted with the “truth” of atheism, no matter how comforting their religion is to them, because “truth” is better than delusion, yet the truth of Hillary Clinton’s innumerable deficiencies should be suppressed to achieve the desired outcome. I guess truth, like science, only counts if it accomplishes one’s goals.

  6. Billy Squibs says:

    I’m not sure how to take your sigh, pennywit.

    I will say that this seems like unexceptional stuff from the Friendly Atheist. It’s bread and butter stuff, no? Red meat to the lions. If the photographer doesn’t want to enter into a contract with a person because of reason X, Y or Z then that’s just fine with me.

  7. Dhay says:

    Except that the Friendly Atheist is rampant clickbait, it would be a wonder that Hemant Mehta bothered to reproduce that photographer’s letter; let’s look at the summary line:

    It’s not her political/religious opinions, per se, extreme as those are …

    Good, that’s sorted, her religious (etc) views are not a problem, so no need for a blog post, eh; the problem is the client’s sanity:

    … it’s what they possibly portend about her being a sane/not sane person.

    All I can say is that he’s not going to catch insanity from his client; it’s wedding photos, so he might well never see her again, ever: to borrow ideasfrom Buddhism and Yoga, his problems can be framed as not with her, she is not the problem, his problems are with himself and with his apparent inability to cope with his own feelings of disgust and revulsion.

    There’s a lot of disgust and revulsion about at the moment, and it’s finding some strange outlets: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/huffpo-goes-after-trumps-taste-in-steak/

  8. pennywit says:

    Oh, I just think Terry Firma’s post exemplifies a petty bit of hypocrisy, and I had a feeling somebody here would point it out.

  9. Billy Squibs says:

    Sorry, but I’m not familiar with Terry Forma but from a quick search, it appears as if Mehta and himself are cut from the same cloth. So much time spent digging through stories that aim to show religious people are somehow morally vile and I suspect so little time actually spent getting to know religious people.

    My point is that Mehta has published far worse. Remember when he helped instigate a social media attack an orphanage in the name of his cause? I think that this was about as low as it gets and outside of his circle of followers, I can only hope that people see him for the type activist he is. That is to say, somebody who will promote his cause over against virtues like truth and honesty.

    But maybe somebody will take up your challenge🙂

  10. Dhay says:

    Yes, the A+ and A- groups have long bickered; but one thing stays constant: there’s a small clique of New Atheist writers busily plugging each others’ books and patting each others’ backs by writing brief sycophantic reviews.

    One such forthcoming book is “Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End”, a perhaps oxymoronic title for a book which must itself be philosophy of religion. Jerry Coyne, for once, doesn’t appear in the reviewer list — he had “vowed to read no more theology”, as he reminds us in his blog post dated 14 November 2016 entitled “John Loftus’s new book: why religious philosophy should be deep-sixed”; despite that — here comes the inevitable plug for a fellow clique member — “this book, a critique of that endeavor, will be one I do read.”

    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/john-loftuss-new-book-why-religious-philosophy-should-be-deep-sixed/

    More interesting than the title is the quality of the reviews; here’s Peter Boghossian’s:

    Unapologetic offers the philosophy of religion the swift, ugly end it has long deserved. This single book will cause the death of a discipline.” —Peter Boghossian

    https://www.amazon.com/Unapologetic-Why-Philosophy-Religion-Must/dp/1634310985

    So Boghossian expects that philosophy of religion will be ended (or as Coyne puts it, “deep-sixed”, ie a nautical term meaning put beyond possibility of retrieval) by Loftus’ book – by Loftus’ book alone. Oddly, he doesn’t say why; he makes a claim for which I can discover no adequate epistemological justification, it appears to be a claim ex rectum.

    The cynic in me says that even if Loftus really has – yeah, yeah – offered up truly irrefutable arguments for the abolition of philosophy of religion, it still wouldn’t disappear: I well remember Margaret Thatcher’s favourite economic guru pronouncing that nothing has an inherent value, it’s worth whatever people are prepared to pay for it; in this context, that translates to philosophy of religion continuing as an academic discipline until and unless funding dries up for the academic departments and practitioners of philosophy of religion.

    A rhetorical question, I’m sure – is someone in the Templeton Foundation going to read Loftus’ book and say the Foundation’s aims are worthless, let’s cut off funding? I’d say that at the very minimum, Boghossian’s “swift, ugly end” of philosophy of religion and “death of a discipline” claims are totally out of touch with economic reality.

    Then there’s practical reality: a popular book by a nobody in the field of philosophy of religion, a mere partisan atheist polemicist, certainly no leader in the field of philosophy of religion, is hardly going to even be read by mainstream philosophers of religion, let alone going to convince them that the work they have been thoughtfully convinced is worthwhile doing for all these years and decades is suddenly null and void and worthless; nothing that Loftus is likely to offer is going to be startlingly new news to them, never countered or undercut, never thought of that argument before. Boghossian teaches in a Philosophy department, so you’d really expect him to know better.

    As regards the book’s content, I note that the excellent Verbose Stoic has promised to review it, so I look forward to a rather more realistic and intelligent review than Boghossian seems capable of.

  11. Dhay says:

    Religion News Service has recently published an article entitled “Dealt a body blow, atheists and humanists regroup”. What I find interesting is the admission that the Reason Rally and some atheist conventions were not about the “Science” and “Reason” (Evidence-Based Reasoning) they claimed to be about but were actually about organising a secular atheist block vote that would counter the religious right:

    For the last decade, atheists, humanists and others secularists have worked hard to organize a “secular vote” that would counter the political clout of the religious right. …

    Political rallies on the Washington Mall, conventions in religious states such as Utah and Texas, and the creation of scores of local chapters of national secular advocacy groups like the Secular Coalition for America did not help the secular vote — sometimes called the “atheist vote” — coalesce into a voting bloc for Hillary Clinton, generally seen as the more secular-friendly candidate. …

    David Silverman, president of American Atheists, which has twice held a “Reason Rally” on the National Mall in an attempt to fire up nonbelievers to vote as a bloc, is also recalibrating. …

    http://religionnews.com/2016/11/09/dealt-a-body-blow-atheists-and-humanists-regroup/

    I note that the Reason Rally 2016 was a flop:
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/reason-rally-2016-was-a-flop/

    And I note that two recent conventions organised with brash publicly-expressed confidence that they would be resounding successes — get your tickets now before they sell out — were cancelled for lack of interest.
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/new-atheist-convention-cancelled/
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/looks-like-yet-another-atheist-conference-is-cancelled/

    From the quotations in the article it looks like representatives of a number of atheist organisations think that Donald Trump’s success was sealed, not just on polling day by the religious right, but months in advance by the indifference of the irreligious left.

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