1. daulnay says

    Isn’t this an article from a Russian news organization with close ties to the Russian government, one which is considered a propaganda outlet? I’m a little surprised.

  2. says

    As invigorating or inspiring as it can be to be a part of a group perceived as having influence toward some sort of Progress in an ever nearing Future (that never quite arrives), I think that skepticism of any such (and so-called) “movement” is probably the best position to take: Skeptical of skepticism; a-theistic toward atheism.

    Hasn’t atheism always been such an unstable position that rightly fades away along with fading hegemonies it resists? After all, I’m not an atheist proper until such time and only as long as someone finds it necessary to press one of their gods and attached rule sets on me.

    I think that any such movement called Atheist (with a capital ‘A’) should be resisted just as vigorously as any other special interest group, club, church, or foundation (real and imagined) that requires ever more loyalty and doesn’t serve people and their needs.

  3. Demeisen says

    Be careful, PZ. Sputnik News and RT are both pretty well known as Russian propaganda outlets: While that doesn’t mean they print nothing but falsehoods, it means that just about everything they do print has an agenda behind it.

  4. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    I dunno, reading the rest of the piece it looks like you tried to make a point about atheists who embrace bigotry and got quote-mined to support a this-space-reserved-for-point about atheists being insufficiently deferential to religious privilege.

  5. Zeppelin says

    @Azkyroth: I actually found it hard to extract an overall resumée/position from the article arranged around the quotes. Presumably they’ve got an idea of how their typical reader will take it, but as an “outsider” I found it fairly anodyne. I guess it would also depend on whether that last paragraph about thus far failing to get a statement from the Richard Dawkins Foundation is a dig at them, or if they’re genuinely looking for a response. The comments on the site right now are also pretty mixed in their interpetation.

  6. hjhornbeck says

    Thirding the Russia connection.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a decree dissolving state-run news agency RIA Novosti and state-owned Voice of Russia radio, and appointed ultraconservative television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov to head a newly-formed media conglomerate.

    The decree, effective immediately, transfers all RIA Novosti property to a new conglomerate called “Rossiya Segodonya,” which means “Russia Today.” Russia Segodonya will provide “coverage of Russian state policy and public life in the federation,” the decree said.


    Out of the ashes of RIA Novosti, the respected Russian state news agency that was dissolved last year, a curious, postmodern kind of bird has emerged. It’s called Sputnik, and it’s the Kremlin’s latest foreign-facing outlet, designed to counter “propaganda promoting a unipolar world.”

    The outlet launched on Monday, and even as its head, Dmitry Kiselyov, took to a Moscow stage to insist that Sputnik will serve up a more objective kind of news, it’s obvious what it really is: yet another compliant outlet to trumpet the Kremlin line. “We will provide alternative interpretations that are, undoubtedly, in demand around the world,” Kiselyov said.

    Like RT, Sputnik slickly remixes President Vladimir Putin’s brand of revanchist nationalism for an international audience, presenting the United States as an ailing imperial power bent on holding on to its domains. But whereas RT functions more like a tabloid news service, Sputnik looks to be presenting a kind of propaganda that’s very much rooted in 2014. RT, one might say, is the Daily Mail of Kremlin propaganda — aggressive, brash, and often ridiculous. (One headline from its homepage: “Cockroaches to the rescue: ‘Cyborg’ insects can help save people trapped in earthquakes.”) Sputnik, meanwhile, is like its BuzzFeed equivalent: cheeky, Internet-savvy, smarter.

  7. blf says

    Yes, both RT (formerly known as Russia Today) and Sputnik are Russian propaganda organs, unlike, say, the New York Times, even with an AGW-denying columnist.

  8. joel says

    Seriously, PZ, what the fuck? A couple days ago you gave an approving link to RT, and now you actually give a fucking interview to sputnik. Do you actually support Russian-government-sponsored propaganda? Because you are acting like you support Russian-government-sponsored propaganda.

  9. says

    Really PZ, you have got to stop enabling Vladimir Putin’s propaganda apparatus. You are seriously damaging your credibility.

  10. ethicsgradient says

    Because PZ seems to have forgotten what’s in his own sidebar, a reminder:

    Pretty amazing that such an article can be written without mentioning ‘humanism’. Pretty amazing that PZ can even say “we need a better foundation for morality, we need human interactions and atheists just haven’t grasped that yet”, without thinking to mention humanism, which is not exactly a new concept or movement. Pretty amazing that PZ isn’t aware of the links between Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association.

    Pretty libelous to say “the New Atheist movement was driven by the September 11 attacks, but now it’s evolved into something else that says, ‘we hate those people with foreign ideas'”.

    A pretty disgusting interview you gave, all round.