Over the years, we have followed the rise, decline, and finally the death of the New Atheist movement. At this point it time, it mostly a matter of studying the decomposition of New Atheism’s corpse. It seems we have now passed the bloat stage and have entered the stage of active decay.
In the summer of 2018, there was supposed to be a huge atheist conference that would unite the warring factions of the atheist movement.
But the dead do not rise except by a miracle, so instead, the atheists got into a fight over the conference itself and it was cancelled in January.
In December of 2017, Friendly Atheist Press published its first book. Despite being aggressively promoted on atheism’s most popular blog, it was a total flop and to this day has only five reviews on Amazon.
In February, one of the most aggressive leaders of the New Atheist movement, someone who regularly appeared with Dawkins and Harris, was accused of sexual misconduct: Lawrence Krauss: The Latest New Atheist Accused of Sexual Misconduct.
Dawkins and Harris abandoned Krauss, yet many in the atheist community were at each other’s throats for several weeks. Krauss’s public reputation and position was eventually destroyed. Not only was he kicked out of the movement, he was forced to retire early from academia and is now a non-player.
Then in April, one of the last remaining leaders of the New Atheist movement, David Silverman, was forced to resign his leadership of American Atheists because of sexual accusations about him.
He too has been erased to become a non-player.
There was pause over the summer as this bloating subsided, and then came the Fall of 2018 with its signs of active decay: we learned that New Atheist Richard Carrier’s lawsuit against PZ Myers was tossed out and Travis Pangburn, the guy who had been promoting talks from Krauss, Harris, and Dawkins, had to dissolve his promotion company because of crippling financial problems.
And throughout the year, Richard Dawkins continues to be irrelevant, focusing his periodic tweets mostly on complaining about Trump and Brexit. He did claim to be writing children’s books on atheism.
Sam Harris also continues to be lost in a meditative trance, where his biggest development has been to become a member of the “Intellectual Dark Web” where he tries to siphon off some of Jordan Peterson’s new found fame. He was last seen shaking his fist at Travis Pangburn.
And finally, as if to add insult to injury, it turns out the majority of Nones are more likely to embrace reincarnation and astrology than atheism. Even more and more atheists are embracing their own religion.
Look, I agree we have entered the post-Christian era, but New Atheism never played any causal role. With the decline of cultural Christianity, New Atheism merely experienced a brief window of opportunity to get atheism noticed, a chance to have people take a second look at it. They looked, a few noticed, but most walked away, drawn to the shiny New Age and occult-like offerings that didn’t look like the secular version of fundamentalism. And New Atheism died.