[I thought this comment below from Dhay deserved more attention]:
John Loftus, reviewing Peter Boghossian’s “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, OP > So he’s calling on a potential legion of people who are willing to help cure believers of their faith virus. He calls them “Street Epistemologists” who are equipped with the tactics he presents in his manual.
Faith virus, eh. By serendipity I’ve just read a Guardian article which discusses how the Chinese Government is dealing with the “faith virus” allegedly infecting the Uighur, Kazakh and other Islamic minorities.
Local officials in Turpan in Southern Xinjiang have been instructed in writing to tell university students returning home in the holidays that their loved ones, now imprisoned in “re-education” camps had been exposed to “religious extremism” and were receiving “concentrated education” to eradicate “violent terrorist thoughts.” They were instructed to employ medical terminology to justify the students’ families’ imprisonment and their lack of access to their families: “Freedom is only possible when this ‘virus’ in their thinking is eradicated and they are in good health” (ie are no longer Muslims.)
So who else has been banging on about the “faith virus” and the need to quarantine it so it cannot be passed on to youths still in education? Well, Richard “God Delusion” Dawkins, for a start. Of course, just referring to a “faith virus” or “delusion” implicitly medicalises (or at any rate pseudo-medicalises) his anti-Christian (etc) rants.
Another “faith virus” culprit who implicitly medicalises or pseudo-medicalises his anti-Christian rants is Loftus; see the quote from the OP.
A “faith virus” and “delusion” culprit who openly and explicitly medicalises or pseudo-medicalises his anti-Christian rants is Boghossian, who in that book devotes several paragraphs to bemoaning how progress in his project to get rid of religion and Christianity is blocked by the religious exemption from “Delusion” and the, er, lack of any DSM entry for “God delusion” or similar. He would evidently just love to get every Christian declared mad, mad I tell you, and medically treated … simply because “God delusion.”
And he is explicit that his trained (cough!) Street Epistemologists will be pseudo-medical pseudo-practitioners using “clinical tools” — unethically, of course.
The goal of this book is to create a generation of Street Epistemologists: people equipped with an array of dialectical and clinical tools who actively go into the streets, the prisons, the bars, the churches, the schools, and the community—into any and every place the faithful reside…
There you have it, there’s quite an overlap between the wishes of some New Atheists and the brutal and repressive actions of the authoritarian Communist Chinese government.