The New Atheism is dead. Long live atheism.


I’ve been godless since I was a teenager, and have been vocal about it, too. Richard Dawkins was a life-long atheist, too, and he sat on the idea for The God Delusion for years, his agent telling him the time wasn’t right. Something changed in the early years of the 21st century, though, and rather abruptly, atheism became cool. All of us long-term atheists suddenly had growing audiences; we were mentioned in pop culture; our enemies became even more shrill; and we had this monicker thrust upon us, the “New Atheists”, against our protests, because we were all aware that there was nothing new about it. Maybe we were more aggressive, or maybe suddenly people were listening to us, but really, it was the same old atheism with a fancy artisan label.

And it took off. “The Four Horsemen” — weirdly inappropriate as it was (which one’s Death, which is Pestilence?), as bizarre as it was for four guys to basically declare themselves the inspirational leadership of an intellectual movement, it was a phenomenal PR move. Atheism became associated in the public eye with New Atheism and these four, turning into a vanity project, which was the worst thing that could happen to us all. Now all the flaws in those individuals transferred to how the public saw atheism.

There was the Philosopher, who has probably aged the best by staying out of the public eye to a large degree, and focusing on academic endeavors and ideas like the Clergy Project. If only the others had kept their ego as free of the atheism movement as he has.

There was the Scientist, who contributed so much clarity to atheism, but is now even more strongly associated with deplorably regressive ideas about feminism, and also leapt happily on the anti-Islam bandwagon fired up by his fellow Horsemen. Unfortunately, part of the growth of 21st century atheism was fueled by the burning of the Twin Towers, and we got sidetracked into damning Islam rather than promoting secularism as worthy in itself.

There was the Eloquent Polemicist, the guy with the confident turn of phrase, the certainty buoyed up with wit, who was on board specifically to chant for the neocon agenda, who wanted war, war, war with a third of the world. He was a brilliant speaker and writer, but he was also one of those responsible for turning atheism towards the darkness of ethnic hatred and misogyny. He had help, though…

There was the Dilettante, Mr Hollywood, the fellow who won over a horde of pre-Alt-Right fan boys by cloaking himself in the mantle of [motivated] Reason and doing his best to make racism palatable by saying it all in a mind-numbing emotionless drone. Read the summary. It’s not pretty.

This is how the New Atheism was shaped, by this handful of high profile proponents. I regarded myself as a New Atheist, too, for the longest time (heck, I’m even cited in The God Delusion, making me pretty damned New Athey, I would think), although for the past few years I’ve mainly been criticizing the direction it’s been taking. Too much blithe sexism, too much flirting with racism, far too much association with regressive conservatism, way way too much fucking libertarianism. The captains of the ship have been steering it into catastrophe while being too busy polishing their uniforms.

Symptomatic of the problems is the offense to reason du jour. We’re living in the age of Trump, when evangelical wankers rule the senate and the Supreme Court is being stocked with Christian conservatives. Planned Parenthood clinics are being shut down all across the country. Our president panders to the Evangelical Right by trying to ban transgender people from the military, and flirts with the war hawks by rattling sabers at Iran and North Korea. There are a million crimes that a movement dedicated to secularism, reason, and Enlightenment values ought to be driven to oppose, but no…what we’re supposed to be concerned about is that Richard Dawkins’ Free Speech was curtailed by a radio station deciding they didn’t want to host one of his talks.

Oh, please. If only we could apply some of that outrage to the case of every woman denied the right to control her own body because Bible-thumping fetus-worshippers hate autonomy. That would be an atheist movement worth following (I should mention that the FFRF, at least, does take a clear position on that).

So…this article by Phil Torres in Salon on the New Atheists. I have to say that Salon has a poor record on writing about atheism — they’ve published some awful crap, and seem to lack any editors competent to evaluate articles on religion or atheism — so I read it with some trepidation. But worse, the article turns out to be dead-on. Don’t you just hate it when someone effectively criticizes something you have been a part of? I’m actually going to have to recommend it, because it does summarize well all the problems with the New Atheism. I agree with it.

That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news.

That version of atheism that is all neocon, libertarian, anti-feminist, and smug cult of personality crap? It has conveniently lumped itself together under the label of “New Atheism”. Reject it. Repudiate it. Scorn it as being soooo 2005.

I say this as a former proud New Atheist, but New Atheist no more.

But still an atheist. Man, that religion junk is so inane that I’m not leaping into its arms because I refuse to accept the baggage of the New Atheism — but you can still be a proud Social Justice Atheist, or SJA, without accepting any fragment of superstition and god-belief.

Comments

  1. says

    SJWA? Social Justice Warrior Atheist. Kinda has a ring to it.

    In truth, probably best to simply avoid labels. I’ve been leaning more towards not using my beliefs about deities to define myself. And yet I still say ‘atheist’ in all my social profiles. :(

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re OP:

    Sounds like “New Atheism” turned into the slur that all the theocrats called Atheism: an alternative religion.
    As such, it is as worthy of avoidance as all “classical” religions.

    re 3:
    same here. Locking onto applying the label “atheist” to oneself is the first step toward religion’s style of thinking,ie “tribalism”.

  3. starskeptic says

    “Something changed in the early years of the 21st century,…”
    9/11 and Bush’s ‘Faith Based Initiative’…

  4. sebloom says

    I never liked the “new atheist” moniker so I’ll go with SJA as well.

    One thing tho, it seems to me that since “new atheism” isn’t an organized group the “leaders” were chosen more by the media and book sales than by anything else.

    I’m perfectly fine distancing myself from the anti-Islam (as opposed to anti-religion), misogynistic, neo-con, crap in the “new atheist” movement.

    Who woulda thunk it…there are “new atheists” that are assholes…just like in every other human group.

    What a surprise.

  5. says

    I won’t annex myself to any one definition, or atheist tribe. There are things I like about PZ, things I like about Dawkins, things I like about Harris. I’ll take each position on it’s merits and see where that leads me. If this causes an issue for people then OK. Importantly, if I hear particularly egregious allegations about a person I just go directly to source and read what they say. That’s normally helped avoid the sound and fury of other’s who quote dishonest snippets of an adversaries perspective. Above all, I try to be aware of my own biases, which I expect we all trip up on more than we would perhaps wish.

  6. deepak shetty says

    There are a million crimes that a movement dedicated to secularism, reason, and Enlightenment values ought to be driven to oppose, but no…what we’re supposed to be concerned about is that Richard Dawkins’ Free Speech was curtailed by a radio station deciding they didn’t want to host one of his talks.

    I don’t particularly care that someone doesn’t want to give Dawkins a platform – but you did leave out “Dear Muslima”

  7. komarov says

    Re: PZ Myers (#7):

    Yes, Bush was a big motivator. So why isn’t Trump inciting the same surge?

    Well, if would-be atheists today still move on tracks parallel to my own back in the day, then they might come across certain blogs and youtube channels, turn around and run away as fast as their internet connection can carry them. Whoever he may be, Pestilence has been busy and quite prolific.

  8. starfleetdude says

    Atheist activists are a diverse lot, rather like Christians actually. There’s a big difference between Social Justice Christians and your Alt-Right Christians too. IMO, it’s a mug’s game to get so worked up about just who is and who isn’t a True Atheist.

  9. says

    I learned something new about Sam Harris today. His PhD in neuroscience was funded by his own foundation, and he only published two academic papers before writing his thesis. And here I was thinking that Sam Harris wasn’t qualified to talk about anything but neuroscience.

  10. screechymonkey says

    PZ@7,

    I don’t think anybody really takes Trump as being serious about religion. Even the evangelical right has mostly decided, “aw, screw it, as long as he appoints Neil Gorsuch types to the Supreme Court, we’ll hold our noses.”

  11. MichaelE says

    I severed what little ties I had with the danish atheist society about the same time as this two years ago. Now, this is not because I had issues with the organization itself. But a lot of it’s members however. I had grown increasingly uncomfortable with the rhetoric they employed, particularly against muslims. Of course, they’d claim that they were only criticizing islam, and not it’s adherents.

    Bullshit!

    It just became increasingly clear that those people belonged with SIAD, essentially a danish hate group targeting muslims.

    It was uncomfortable. And what really, finally, pushed me over the edge and made me say “fuck it” was their unflinching certainty. It was Dunning-Kruger in full effect pretty much across the board.
    I hate to say it, but it was religious certainty. And frankly, it both sickened and frightened me.

    But what could you do? It was the same old story over again. You spoke out against and instantly you’d be swarmed with accusations and people “jaq’ing off” all around you.

    So, fuck it! I never really liked it when people were so damn sure of themselves either way, so fuck it!

  12. consciousness razor says

    Who is a part of “new atheism” anyway? It started as just a bullshit brand name conjured up by a journalist (or someone I’ve totally forgotten, whatever their profession), which has always been very fuzzy around the edges, not to mention ill-motivated. One thing I think most would agree on is that it’s centered around “the four horsemen” (yet more bullshit, from another journalist probably). But out of those, only Harris and Dawkins are causing trouble these days….

    Already, with the inclusion of Hitchens, it’s pretty hard for me to see how the right-wing elements weren’t fairly obvious to everyone from the beginning. Maybe some just weren’t very willing to look. But then this whole story about a slide “from the Enlightenment to the Dark Ages” seems rather distorted: it provides a nice tragic narrative arc, but the bigger journalistic concern is presumably accuracy.

    Names like Boghossian and Yiannopoulos are presented by Torres as prominent (and of course awful) examples. I wouldn’t have associated them with new atheism, and it wasn’t even until fairly recently that I had even heard of them. At any rate, it’s not clear how it should be decided or which kinds of criteria ought to be used, to place somebody inside/outside of “new atheism.” Is it just that these people happen to be atheists at this particular time, or are there other things which should qualify/disqualify a person as being one of the “new” variety of atheist? I honestly couldn’t say — do they spend any time at all addressing atheist issues, or is their “work” just about trolling and spreading hate and so forth?

    Coyne, Pinker and Shermer make brief appearances in some of his account (via links related to the Boghossian/Lindsay “hoax”). Those are some of the people I’d associate with new atheism, due to the way they’ve engaged with the (preexisting) atheist/skeptic community in the roughly post-9/11 timeframe we’re talking about. Pinker’s offerings, in the form of books and articles and talks and so forth, have been more focused on his academic work, not so much atheism or skepticism or secularism or any of the standard fare. Still, I could see fitting him into the story as a sort of marginal character who has (for better or worse) made some kind of contribution along those lines. It seems fair to say the connection is less tenuous when it comes to the other two.

    Beyond that, even though I think I’m fairly well-informed, it’s not easy to tell who or what is being discussed. I guess that by itself might be enough of a reason to avoid all of the baggage. But it’s an awfully nebulous group, and whatever it is, you definitely seem to be saying it’s alive and kicking … it’s just “dead to you,” which is something else.

  13. Bill Buckner says

    How does SJA differ (if it does) from Atheism-Plus? Or is that also dead?

    Personally, I’d be careful announcing the death of this or that. It is to reminiscent of Dembski.

  14. consciousness razor says

    rietpluim:

    Even Dennett?

    Now that is disappointing.

    I don’t think anyone here is saying Dennett’s a bad dude. Of course, he’s not perfect. The first criticism that comes to mind has to do with arguments trying to justify punishment (in the abstract) with compatibilist free will, as if that were something our society needs…. That’s troubling, but I would say he’s almost always been on the right side. He’s pretty much been banging away at the same set of issues for his whole career, somewhat like Dawkins I guess; and there’s not much he can do if one day some jackass decides he’s a “horseman” and ought to be lumped in with all of those jokers.

  15. Christoper Merle says

    I started calling myself a secular humanist (which encompasses my atheism) as a reaction against the New Atheists. If it was a good enough term for Isaac Asimov to describe himself as one; it’s good enough for me.

  16. Matt G says

    Well said, PZ. I used to respect those guys, but what a bunch of asses they became (or were and I just didn’t see it). We don’t need another hero! Atheism forever, man!

  17. archi says

    New atheism did a lot of good bringing atheism to wide audience. It was not just horsemen but the ferment was widespread. A lot of new books, documentaries, blogs, forums came to be and involved bright young ppl all around the world.

    But then came economic crisis 2007/8 which had greater impact on people’s lives than islamic terrorism. Neoliberalism became a thing good for hard-headed ideologues only. But there was no appropriate response or reaction from most prominent atheists to this new situation. Thus movement lost its impact, imho.

    Here came to the light its biggest weakness. I watched and read hundreds of debates between atheists and religious believers for education but mostly for the intellectual fun. There was one argument that they struggled with or dismissed without properly addressing it. This was question about communism. They were convincing with rebuttals against associating atheism with fascism but not with the former.

    This inability to defend themselves, in my opinion, biased them a little bit towards right on political spectrum. Over time this led atheist fleet to treacherous waters. Unable to respond to demand for social and economic justice movement started to became more and more irrelevant and eventually lost impact. And at the same time sinking in the mud of some dubious quality disussions.

  18. says

    I’m going to clarify a few things.

    When I say I’m an Social Justice Atheist, that does not mean I’m creating an SJA movement, let alone that I want any leadership role at all — there’s nothing to lead. It’s just how I feel about my kind of atheism. You be you.

    When I say New Atheism is dead, I don’t mean that all the other New Atheists have given up the game and gone home. I mean that I think it is a spent force politically and persuasively — it won’t be getting people excited as it did in the early days, and it has acquired far too much unpleasant baggage to make it a useful recruiting tool. It’s actually a repellent to many people. We’re better off just calling ourselves plain old atheist than using that loaded term.

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I gave up on the “new atheism” more than a decade ago. Morally bankrupt it was.
    Atheism + and SJW atheism, are just name changes. I much prefer atheism with heart. Those who have a heart prefer and vote progressive, as does atheism +, and atheism SJW, so we do fall under than label.

  20. consciousness razor says

    I called the Random Number Pseudonym Hotline, and they just sent me this stupid brochure.

  21. Sonja says

    I’ve been reading PZ for about 12 years and have agreed with almost everything (except of his bizarre misunderstanding of Obama), but I come to atheism from a slightly different background. I too figured out religion was bunk, on my own, when I was about 13, but continued to attend church because I had to drive my grandmother, which gave me more time to observe the behavior-modification techniques employed by even bland suburban Lutheran churches. While I got my degree in Political Science and worked as an activist for about 15 years, I was always different from the other progressive activists in that I was also a natural skeptic and eschewed my fellow south Minneapolis hipsters who were dabbling in Wicca, past lives, Forteana, and other New Agey nonsense. I would occasionally run into atheist organizations at events around town and always found them populated by old, somewhat creepy men, so stayed clear. To this day, for as much of a political activist I have been, I have never attended actual Atheist events. I met PZ twice — once at a Drinking Liberally event and once at a Roy Zimmerman (love him!) concert. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens disappointed the hell out of me on respect for women. Thank you PZ for standing up for women like me. I admit I have not had the strength to jump into this particular fray. As a women in the technology field, I have enough mansplaining, etc., to deal with at work.

  22. mnb0 says

    “I don’t think anybody really takes Trump as being serious about religion.”
    No, but you Americans better should realize that his helpmates are dead serious about religion. For those who can read Dutch:

    https://www.demorgen.be/buitenland/kabinetsleden-trump-wekelijks-naar-de-bijbelstudie-b4a4ff56/

    For those who can’t: Flemish newspaper De Morgen reports that one Ralph Drollinger presides weekly Bible Study sessions. Regular participators are Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry, Tom Price, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions.
    It looks like the USA are turning into a theocracy.
    I just checked. On Why Evolution True there is nothing about this – after being vocal about Dawkins’ cancelled speech. Matter of priorities, I guess.
    Ah well – I call myself lucky that I never considered myself a New Atheist (though I’ve been called one by an assholish creacrapper). For one thing I’ve always thought cooperating with believers whom I agree with on political issues far more important than being vocal about my unbelief. Of course this is easier for me as my inspiration rather comes from Ferdinand Domela-Nieuwenhuis, Anton Constandse, Bertrand Russell and recently Herman Philipse.

  23. says

    Siggy @13:

    I learned something new about Sam Harris today. His PhD in neuroscience was funded by his own foundation, and he only published two academic papers before writing his thesis. And here I was thinking that Sam Harris wasn’t qualified to talk about anything but neuroscience.

    Did you read about that from “Sam Harris is a fraud” over at The Rhizzone? I read that piece and came away with two thoughts:
    1–He’s not only a white supremacist (you don’t get to softball interview one of the writers of The Bell Curve, apologize for the treatment that piece of shit has received by people bc of his part in that book, and claim blacks do have lower IQ than whites ((thus perpetuating bullshit scientific racism)) and not be a white supremacist), he’s the beneficiary of so much White Privilege, it probably courses through his veins.
    2–I really, really wish the author of that piece had linked to the sources of the various assertions they make. I want to believe all of what they said. I really do. I despise Sam Harris, but I’m aware that my bias against him could make it easy to believe anything about the guy. I want to make sure that what I do believe about him is real and substantiated.

    (any Harrisites reading this can save their breath–I believe he is a white supremacist bc of HIS words, which I have not taken out of context, or cherry picked)

  24. says

    Tony! @33,
    I started reading The Rhizzone article, but it was kind of tl;dr.

    I tried to the verify the claims about Harris’ PhD work, because as a PhD student I felt I might be able to judge it. I learned from Harris’ own site that he’s published four academic papers in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2016 (his PhD was from 2000-2009). The 2009 paper has an author contribution statement, which says he did not run the experiments himself, and instead he helped with analysis and writing. Even without judging any of the quality of his work, his academic contribution is really tiny, and does not look like an ordinary PhD. White privilege indeed.

    As far as the quality of his work goes, a statistician who wrote a long critique of his 2009 paper here–which I haven’t read. And it appears that Harris’ PhD thesis got reworked into The Moral Landscape so I guess you could look up experts’ reviews of that book.

  25. F.O. says

    I too despise Sam Harris, but the linked article wasn’t very convincing, it felt more smeary than I’m comfortable with.

    @Rob Barnes #9

    Importantly, if I hear particularly egregious allegations about a person I just go directly to source and read what they say.

    If you have time, I would be genuinely curious to know what you make of https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/forbidden-knowledge

  26. cero says

    I think I will never understand, why it is ok to be an atheist if your arguments are anti-christianic, but not anymore if they are anti-islamic.

    I don’t see any evidence that islam is treated differently by the “new atheists” than any other religion would be.

  27. says

    It’s sad to me that a lot of so called atheists feel the need to disparage the work of people who I feel had a lot to do with the ability for us to stand up and proclaim ourselves atheists in the face of growing religiosity.
    Hitchens in particular gave me my atheist voice. I learned more about religion and the bullshit behind it from Hitch than anybody else. I know I’m not the only one who felt empowered by he and his fellow “new atheists” to stand up to those who acted judgmental toward me for my lack of “faith.”
    I will continue to appreciate the work of these people and reference their work in my own arguments, because certainly nobody here can come up with anything better.

  28. says

    I certainly wish Hitchens was still around. Clearly nobody has the balls or the ability today to get on national tv and stand up to the theocrats like he did.

  29. guymontag says

    PZ, this really sounds like infantile jealousy. Everyone has their faults and shortcomings, but surely you agree more with all four of these individuals than disagree. If this was an honest critique of their views or actions that you disagreed with, then I would welcome it. However, this just comes across as a petty hit piece. I thought you were better than this.

  30. specialffrog says

    Lee S Hoover: How much useful work does an atheist have to do before criticizing their bad ideas makes someone a “so-called atheist”?

  31. Saad says

    cero, #37

    I think I will never understand, why it is ok to be an atheist if your arguments are anti-christianic, but not anymore if they are anti-islamic.
    I don’t see any evidence that islam is treated differently by the “new atheists” than any other religion would be.

    It’s not about the religion. They (Harris and Dawkins) say prejudiced and/or discriminatory shit about Muslims.

  32. says

    Here we go, as I expected.

    I am as anti-Islamic as I am anti-Christianity and anti-Judaism. All three are awful collections of bullshit and bigotry. The problem is when that detestation of doctrine slides over into contempt for people, and especially when race or ethnicity are used as proxies for ideas.

    Hitchens was an absolutely brilliant writer and speaker — you can enjoy his talents. But never forget that he used those talents to advocate for war and the bombing of civilians. The problem here is when people seem unable to dissociate the bad from the good in individuals, and end up practically worshipping the flawed whole.

    “infantile jealousy” — what? I would not trade places with any of them. I can admire Dawkins’ writing skill while not wanting to be him. This is also a criticism of the atheist movement, and the deplorables it has fostered. I can’t be jealous of something I find ugly and malformed and poisonous.

  33. cero says

    Saad, #42

    It’s not about the religion. They (Harris and Dawkins) say prejudiced and/or discriminatory shit about Muslims.

    Could you elaborate on that? I certainly know not everything they ever said, but the things I heard from them were just (harsh) criticism of the religion. And this of course includes the religious practicioners.

  34. kenal98 says

    Cero, #44

    Harris and Dawkins do not criticize other religions in the same way that they criticize Islam. They reserve a special kind of visceral hate for Islam and Muslims. Their argument is not that Islam is bad like other religions; they argue that Islam is the worst of all the religions/the most evil of all the religions. If they stopped here, I was suppose one could argue that they are still only criticizing religion and are merely ranking the badness of the various religions. Such an attempt at ranking strikes me as intellectual dubious exercise prone to tribalism but one could still maintain the argument that they are critiquing religion. However, it becomes difficult to maintain the position that they are only critiquing religion when they arguments go past “Islam is the most religion” to Islam is the worst thing on our planet.

    When people like Harris start fantasizing (I mean doing though experiments of course) about nuclear first strikes on Muslims because some ideas are so bad we might have to kill the people who hold them. When Harris starts down the road of arguing that we should profile anyone who is Muslim or “appears to be Muslim”; I don’t think reasonable people can avoid the conclusion that Harris and Dawkins are saying prejudiced and/or bigoted shit about Muslims.

    I think one example from Dawkins is particularly apt for the purpose of this discussions; Dawkins has said repeatedly (and boasted that he has said it repeatedly), that Islam is the greatest force for evil on our planet today.

    @ToddKincannon I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today. I've said so, often and loudly.What are you talking about?— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) March 1, 2013

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  35. consciousness razor says

    cero:

    I certainly know not everything they ever said, but the things I heard from them were just (harsh) criticism of the religion.

    Here’s one well-known example: Harris arguing in favor of profiling people who look like Muslims. (That is of course “profiling” in the sense of a security measure, for the TSA and so forth.)

  36. says

    @guymontag
    Without quotes all you have is whining.

    Seriously, how the fuck is anyone supposed to figure out what you feel represents jelousy? What characteristics make this a “hit piece”? We are confronting systematic institutionalized bigotry which requires public critics of authority figures.

    Given the context I’m fine simply disparaging your comment as substantively empty whining.

  37. says

    @Lee S. Hoover
    Let me get this straight, it’s bad that we disparage bigotry because they did some good things and you learned things from them?

    That’s the same sort of knee-jerk defensiveness that atheists critisize in religion. We critisize damage done by a religious group and a very common reaction is to push the attention towards the good they have done, as if that erases the things people are complaining about. Critisize a pedophile priest and you hear about all the good they have done.

    But of course it’s not a religious behavior as atheists ate learning about many supposedly religious behaviors. Be better than that. You spent no effort showing why disparagement was bad here and that is a normal human behavior.

  38. consciousness razor says

    kenal98:

    Their argument is not that Islam is bad like other religions; they argue that Islam is the worst of all the religions/the most evil of all the religions. If they stopped here, I was suppose one could argue that they are still only criticizing religion and are merely ranking the badness of the various religions. Such an attempt at ranking strikes me as intellectual dubious exercise prone to tribalism but one could still maintain the argument that they are critiquing religion.

    Well, I basically agree, but you might be conceding too much in the last statement. I would say it’s a bad attempt at such a critique, while in reality it is an intellectually dubious exercise prone to tribalism.

    On the surface, people will try to make it look like criticism of a religion, but it raises lots of questions:

    1) What is the motivation for doing this kind of ranking? If somebody wants to get an answer, what exactly could they hope to gain? Do they have Tony awards for most evil religion? Will they try to use it to support an argument that we need to go to war, start torturing, start profiling, etc.?
    2) What kind of evidence is used to determine that this one (or another one) is worse, more evil, more dangerous, etc.? When I’ve gotten into arguments with Harris and Dawkins supporters before*, I’ve raised the point that right-wing Christians in the US have a much more threatening arsenal within their reach, namely, the entire US military with nuclear weapons and all, supported by the much stronger US economy, a large number of powerful allies, etc.
    3) When faced with significant evidence of the dangers of other religions, what kind of response will be given? Will they change their minds about which one is more dangerous, or will they irrationally insist on their prejudiced answer (one which was literally judged before understanding the facts) counter to all of the evidence presented to them?
    4) Is there any attempt to characterize inherent features of a religion (which are to be criticized), as distinct from all sorts of other social/economic factors that have led to our particular situation in which one religion or another appears worse? Are there other factors besides bits of religious dogma, that make it so that one religion is doing more damage than another or could be expected to do so (given those other factors which led to the situation we happen to be in)? Is that entire line of thought dispensed with, in order to quickly reach the conclusion that one religious group is just plain worse so we had better focus our criticisms there?

    *Which is not to say Harris and Dawkins are the only well-known atheists who’ve been making such claims, for at least a decade at this point. Other people just weren’t a part of the question, so I’ll leave them out of it for now.

  39. warflagon says

    Prof Myers. I really appreciate your opinions most of the time.
    I just don’t understand why you feel compelled to attack your own allies? Dawkins and Hitchens books changed my life.
    Were the men perfect? No.

    Can I understand that, and still appreciate, share or challenge or debate their opinions? Yes.

    Is the Great Randi Perfect? Do you have an opinion on this life? He’s certainly lived longer. Is he perfect? I’ve never read your opinion on him. I’d be glad to read it.

    Stop shitting all over your allies please.

    No one is perfect, nor are their friends.

    Best regards and respect,
    Warflagon

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Stop shitting all over your allies please.

    Allies? Those who would shit on those with skin colors not “up to snuff”? That is where PZ and my self are. If they won’t understand how they show bigotry, they aren’t allies, but rather folks to be marginalized from the movement of atheists with heart.

  41. warflagon says

    Color? Hitch was not prejudiced against color or region. Only Fundamentalist religions. Of all stripes. Maybe I missed something reading his books and watching every youtube vid I can find of him?
    I will stand corrected if you can find something otherwise.

    But I will still respect what was good of Jefferson, even though he was an adulter and slave holder.
    I’m better, but I ‘m not perfect. And no where near as important.
    I can appreciate someone’s faults and still appreciate their pro’s. Wouldn’t be able to stand my own parents, otherwise.
    I must assume you stand on a tall tower.

  42. warflagon says

    *****to be clear I’m not excusing any sexual assault issues concerning Shermer or others. I’m fine with those. Those are assaults. Not opinions.

    could not find a way to edit or amend a previous post.

  43. consciousness razor says

    warflagon:
    I don’t understand why you just shit on PZ. I mean, sure, challenge his ideas….. Fine by me. Seriously. That is a statement I actually mean.

    But shitting on him like this? Whoah. None of my business, but he’s not into that sort of thing, as far as I’m aware. Are you not one of his allies? Maybe you could try challenging one or more of his ideas, since it appears you failed to do that in #50 … you know, as opposed to shitting on him again.

  44. warflagon says

    That sounds wrong!!!!! I’m fine and good with all criticisms and legal repercussions of sexual assaults!!!!!

    Looked weird when I read it back…..just want to be clear.

  45. warflagon says

    How Am I shiting on PZ? I only asked he stopped shitting on his allies.

    Where Did I slander or disrespect him?

  46. says

    @warflagon
    Point to the wording of the attack. There are no demands for perfection on this page and you are avoiling your responsability to be specific about which criticism you call an attack.

    Why should I care if they changed your life? You aren’t specific about what bothers other people, unless you are making a general argument against all criticism of allies and don’t want to be upfront about it. As an ally who has benefitted from criticism you need to do better than a non-literalism-insult characterizing behavior. I’m fine with insults in general, but it’s fun for me when they are backed up with nothing if substance.

  47. warflagon says

    again, I have offered NO insult. Only, as a lurker for 4+ years, I ask Prof Myers to considers who his enemies and his allies are.

    The “four horseman” that he (rightfully or not) criticizes, has meant more to more people than himself on a philosophical point of view.
    I have no doubt he has touched more with his chosen profession in Biology, and I appreciate that, and hope my children may do as much good.

    I have bought his book and followed this page since it was before freethoughtsblogs.com.
    I only learned of him(Meyers) through the horsemen.

    I’m not attacking Prof Meyers.
    I have great admiration and respect for him. I do not always agree with his opinions.

    I find it odd to find a freethink blog with so very little leeway in discussion.

    I will remain, you may do as you will.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I find it odd to find a freethink blog with so very little leeway in discussion.

    I hear no evidenced discussion from you.

    Only Fundamentalist religions. Of all stripes.

    Easy on the Xians, hard on the Muslims. That is my impression, since he wanted to go to war with Islam, but not Xians.
    Where are you links?

  49. consciousness razor says

    This looks like it’s going to take a while.

    Where Did I slander or disrespect him?

    Well, you did say he was shitting on people. You offered literally nothing in support of it (even when taken metaphorically, of course). Do you draw a very sharp line between slander and making baseless assertions?

    As for disrespect, there are statements and other behaviors that aren’t respectable. Agreed? It’s not wrong to disrespect things like that. Yes?

    Back to you.

  50. says

    @warflagon
    I disagree there was no insult, you critisized a person without showing them the problem. A criticism without substance feels insulting. the only person’s opinion that matters is PZ’s on the matter of insults.

    Your logic seems to be that I should not critisize an ally because you care more about an authority figure than me. Since you have not been specific why should I care? Provide teason, literally.

    Finally freethought refers to a name of a philosophical movement, taking it literally makes you look ignorant. It’s just rhetoric.

  51. KG says

    I find it odd to find a freethink blog with so very little leeway in discussion. – warflagon@58

    Can’t you whine with a little more originality?

  52. KG says

    Only, as a lurker for 4+ years – warflagon@58

    I don’t believe you. If you had been, you would not only be fully aware why PZ, and most of us here, do not consider Dawkins an ally (and wouldn’t consider Hitchens one if he was still alive); you would have seen that we’ve seen your whines, and accompanying protestations of respect, assertions of being alongstanding reader/lurker, etc., etc., many, many, many times before.

  53. David Dobson says

    Nerd @59:

    Easy on the Xians, hard on the Muslims. That is my impression, since he wanted to go to war with Islam, but not Xians.
    Where are you links?

    To quote you, where are your links? I don’t give two shits about your “impression”, I want facts.

    How was Hitchens ever “easy on” christians? He was wonderfully brutal in his continued efforts to tell the world the truth about “Mother Theresa”, for example.

    And he did not “[want] to go to war with Islam”. I don’t know how old you are, but at the time of the original Iraq invasion by daddy Bush, all of us who were around knew it was about the oil. Ever since, we have screamed about Bush, Cheney, Bush again, and all the Republicans in general having financial links to oil-owning muslim countries which actually protect the muslim rulers there. US warmongering is all about money, nothing to do with being anti-islam. How else to explain the UAE being so safe from attack over the last few decades?

    And exactly which christian countries do you think he could possibly have gone to war with? Which of them could have been spun as immediate threats to global security?

    If you read a little more about Hitchens, you might come to the conclusion that his time spent in Northern Ireland during “The Troubles” led him to despise inter-faith discrimination as a self-destructing poison to society. But then that would require a little effort on your behalf. Much easier to sit on your perch squawking catchphrases.

  54. John Morales says

    From OP:

    All of us long-term atheists suddenly had growing audiences; we were mentioned in pop culture; our enemies became even more shrill; and we had this monicker thrust upon us, the “New Atheists”, against our protests, because we were all aware that there was nothing new about it. Maybe we were more aggressive, or maybe suddenly people were listening to us, but really, it was the same old atheism with a fancy artisan label.

    And we happily adopted the monicker at the time.

    For me, New Atheism is basically an attitude to atheism: an unapologetic dismissal of superstition and endorsement of atheism. So yeah, I’m still one.

    And it took off. “The Four Horsemen” — weirdly inappropriate as it was (which one’s Death, which is Pestilence?), as bizarre as it was for four guys to basically declare themselves the inspirational leadership of an intellectual movement, it was a phenomenal PR move. Atheism became associated in the public eye with New Atheism and these four, turning into a vanity project, which was the worst thing that could happen to us all. Now all the flaws in those individuals transferred to how the public saw atheism.

    I personally think that atheism (Atheism, if you like) is in a far stronger position than it was before the Four Horsemen’s ascension; almost like they catalysed a phase change in public perception, making atheism mainstream.

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To quote you, where are your links? I don’t give two shits about your “impression”, I want facts.

    So do I. You present none. End of story. You say nothing.

  56. David Dobson says

    Nerd @67.

    1) Which of my points do you believe is/are addressed by your link?
    2) Dawkins died in 2011, the linked article was published in 2015, so how does it bolster your unevidenced assertion (rebutted by me @64) that Hitchens was “Easy on the Xians, hard on the Muslims”?

  57. David Dobson says

    Nerd @67 again.

    Oh my! I have just read all of the link which you called “Evidence of Xian threats”. The story is an extremely brief CNN piece about the possible threat posed by the Sovereign Citizens movement. I have no doubt that many of these people are christians, but your link was a really awful one to choose to make the point you wanted.

    Wow, that was just terrible. SMH.

  58. consciousness razor says

    How was Hitchens ever “easy on” christians? He was wonderfully brutal in his continued efforts to tell the world the truth about “Mother Theresa”, for example.

    Not the most compelling example. Saying a few things about one old nun isn’t quite the same as saying it about a billion people. It’s not so easy to tell that many stories. (Of course, if you think Muslims just have one story, well….)

    Besides, what happened with Muslims didn’t stop with him merely saying a few things. And I know Hitchens wasn’t nearly stupid enough to get away with playing innocent about that.

    And he did not “[want] to go to war with Islam”. I don’t know how old you are, but at the time of the original Iraq invasion by daddy Bush, all of us who were around knew it was about the oil. Ever since, we have screamed about Bush, Cheney, Bush again, and all the Republicans in general having financial links to oil-owning muslim countries which actually protect the muslim rulers there. US warmongering is all about money, nothing to do with being anti-islam.

    This is an odd argument. Crusaders and Inquisitors had ulterior motives as well. If you can explain why their shitfests also had nothing to do with religion, I might be able to wrap my head around this.

    Let’s see what Hitchens had to say. This is from God is not Great, pp. 34-35, which I just came across while looking for something else. (Haven’t read it in a while, so I may get too tired before I find that).

    As the debate over intervention in Iraq became more heated, positive torrents of nonsense poured from the pulpits. Most churches opposed the effort to remove Saddam Hussein, and the pope disgraced himself utterly by issuing a person invitation to the wanted war criminal Tariq Aziz, a man responsible for the state murder of children. […skipping past some unrelated jabs…] On the other side of the confessional span, some but not all American evangelicals thundered joyously about the prospect of winning the Muslim world for Jesus. […skipping another aside…] Charles Stanley, whose weekly sermons from the First Baptist Church in Atlanta are watched by millions, could have been any demagogic imam as he said, “We should offer to serve the war effort in any way possible. God battles with people who oppose him, who fight against him and his followers.” His organization’s Baptist Press news service printed an article from a missionary exulting that “American foreign policy, and military might, have opened an opportunity for the gospel in the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Never to be outdone, Tim LaHaye decided to go even further. Best-known as the coauthor of the best-selling Left Behind pulp novel series, which readies the average American for the “rapture” and then for Armageddon, he spoke of Iraq as “a focal point of end-time events.” Other biblical enthusiasts tried to link Saddam Hussein with the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon, a comparison that the dictator himself would probably have approved, given his rebuilding of the old walls at Babylon with bricks that had his named inscribed on every one of them. Thus, instead of a rational discussion about the best way to contain and defeat religious fanaticism, one had the mutual reinforcement of two forms of that mania: the jihadist assault reconjured the bloodstained specter of the Crusaders.

    Now, he doesn’t see himself as part of that mutual reinforcement, although he is intent on defeating religious fanaticism and removing Hussein. There’s no mention of oil, which presumably means something when we try to read him as being honest.

    I’m also not aware of any calls to defeat Mother Teresa. I don’t remember what he did say on the subject very well now. Was there ever a live proposal that we should bomb Calcutta or do anything like that? What did he think was the best way to “contain and defeat” that particular instance of religious fanaticism?

  59. ck, the Irate Lump says

    I should mention that the headline I quoted is badly misleading. American Muslims have been more accepting of LGBT for quite a number of years (at least 2007). The threshold they actually recently passed is 50%, while Evangelical support is still languishing at 34%.

  60. consciousness razor says

    By the way, this is easy to miss: “the jihadist assault” is presumably 9/11. So, in his 2007 book, he thinks that has to do with invading Iraq because…..?

  61. KG says

    at the time of the original Iraq invasion by daddy Bush, all of us who were around knew it was about the oil. Ever since, we have screamed about Bush, Cheney, Bush again, and all the Republicans in general having financial links to oil-owning muslim countries which actually protect the muslim rulers there. US warmongering is all about money, nothing to do with being anti-islam. – David Dobson@64

    Hitchens opposed that first Gulf War. By the time the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 came round, he was an enthusiastic advocate of American imperialism and stooge of the neocons, and continued to lie about that war until his death. (I should note in fairness that Dawkins opposed it.)

  62. warflagon says

    The comment section of this space is pretty petty.
    I guess most are.
    One sided with righteous indignation. All other opinions are evil. Not misguided. Not ignorant. Not wrong. To be attacked, their messengers to be mocked, tarred and feathered.
    Regardless, you may have your pool to swim in. This is a comment section I am done with.

    Do be good peons and call me names (snowflake, etc) and insult my character.

    There you go :)

  63. KG says

    warflagon@76,

    As expected, not a single original word from you, just bog-standard whining. You won’t be missed.

  64. says

    @warflagon
    So no quotes of the supposed attacks?

    I guess you are not an honest person. I’m downgrading you gossiper and rumor mongerer. You will go from here and tell stories of how you feel about PZ and the rest of us, bit you will remain a coward unable to back up your feelings.

    That’s the honest possibility. The dishonest one is that you are here purely for social conflict purposes and are willing to say anything to protect a fellow bigot. I’m not sure which is worse, the honest one leaves you broken and lying to yourself.

    I have no problem confronting people like you on and off line. You leave me no choice since you are willing to criticize people without being willing to point to the problem. You are the one effectively attacking and insulting. Fortunately I enjoy it, a luxury not everyone has.

  65. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Are there other factors besides bits of religious dogma, that make it so that one religion is doing more damage than another or could be expected to do so (given those other factors which led to the situation we happen to be in)?

    I think there are two characteristics of Islam and Christianity that tend to make them more likely to be militant on a global scale (as opposed to most religions that tend to limit their militancy to certain geographic areas). Both religions see themselves as both exclusive (we have only one god) and universal (our god is everyone’s god), and so they tempt their more fervent believers to spread their religion worldwide by whatever means. Other religions may be exclusive but not universal (Judaism), or universal but not exclusive (Buddhism), or perhaps neither (Hinduism?). So while those religions can be militant, their believers aren’t trying to convert or conquer the world.

  66. cero says

    @kenal98/consciousness razor:

    Thanks for your answers. I wouldn’t agree, that stating that Islam is currently the most dangerous of all religions is racist. I can think of good, although not necessarily universal, arguments for that. Saying that Islam is the “greatest force of evil” of today, well, I would disagree, but I again don’t see anything racist within that.
    I would compare it with saying that e.g. “capitalism is the greatest force of evil of today”. I can’t see how a statement like this can be considered racist.

    I didn’t know that Harris is in support of racial profiling. I agree that this is inherently racist and cannot be justified by criticism of religion.

    The “nuclear first strike”-thing seems to be misrepresented though (see https://youtu.be/3FhP27cKjlY ).

  67. tonyinbatavia says

    Man, warflagon, you had one of the quickest zero-to-flouncy test runs I have ever seen here, and that’s saying something. You offered nothing — zero, zip, zilch, nada — of substance, then when asked for a single evidenced example of your claim you instantly put on the crown of “this blog hates all dissent and refuses to take my bald-assed lie as fact.” Royal martyrdom at its finest.

    Hey, chucklehead, asking for evidence for your vapid fucking claim is not hating dissent or even remotely petty. It’s simply asking that you actually demonstrate what we suspect is an ignorant-assed, vapid fucking claim. If you had the evidence you wouldn’t need to whine about all those meanie commenters hurting your widdle fee-fees for not just accepting your horseshit. Instead you would, you know, present the goddamn evidence.

    But go ahead. Run along now. Go find some corners of the Internet that are so stupendously credulous that they will just accept every shitstained claim you make without asking for evidence. Bask there in your ignorance and continue being a dipshit. It suits you.

    Now, please, fucknut, stick the flounce. Too many shitheads like you come back to register yet another pointless screech about how they have been treated so poorly, all while still failing to present evidence. Be bold. Be different. Be gone, for good. Ya fuck.

  68. says

    Leftist atheists critize other atheist as they dare to critize muslims? From a perspective of an European living in one of the most atheist states in the world (yes, you would be considered „weird“ if you go to church here actually), this is crazy.

    It really looks like Social justice is the new religion.

  69. Saad says

    Josef Duben, #82

    Leftist atheists critize other atheist as they dare to critize muslims?

    Criticize?

    We’re talking about generalizations, prejudice, and discrimination.

    In the U.S., Muslims are a vilified group. A bunch of white people disparaging them using broad generalizations and dog whistled racism isn’t criticism.

  70. John Morales says

    Josef Duben:

    It really looks like Social justice is the new religion.

    How you supposedly get from atheists criticising atheists (just as you’re doing, interestingly) to that conclusion is opaque.

    In any case, social justice is an ethical stance, not a religious one.

  71. KG says

    Josef Duben,

    Evidently, you are in favour of social injustice. Nice of you to let us know.

  72. David Dobson says

    Saad @83:

    In the U.S., Muslims are a vilified group. A bunch of white people disparaging them using broad generalizations and dog whistled racism isn’t criticism.

    Why are you conflating religion and race into a single entity?

  73. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why are you conflating religion and race into a single entity?

    People often use racism in place of bigotry. No big deal except to pedants, or those looking to criticize.

  74. says

    Josev Duben, please do not presume that all of our countrymen are as islamophobic as our current president is, or as immoral as our former president was. Some of us actually do lok at the evidence and see that islam is in principle not worse than christianity, and that in many cases the pretense of criticising islam is only used as a convenient cudgel to bash brown people (both metaphotically and literally). There is a lot of legitimate criticism to be levied against islam. There is unfortunately also a lot of abuse of this criticism by racists and fascists.

  75. David Dobson says

    Nerd @87:

    People often use racism in place of bigotry.

    Opinion. Dismissed.

    No big deal except to pedants…

    Oh, I see! Talking about anti-religious bigotry but then suddenly declaring it a white person thing is no big deal? Of course not, no problem here, just a completely logical and well-argued discussion of facts!

  76. Saad says

    David Dobson,

    Why are you conflating religion and race into a single entity?

    Profiling and casual mistreatment of random “Muslim looking” people is done based on appearance/attire. The cases of Hindus and Sikhs being beaten/murdered was done based on race. Sam Harris’s proposal to profile Muslims and those who look like they could be Muslims is based on race.

  77. says

    It’s amazing how consistent some of these patterns are.

    @Josef Duben

    Would I be correct in assuming that that you simply change your mind when people assert things? That you simply fold because people tell you to? No? Then start pointing at objects and stop being a subjective child. Subjectivity has its usefulness but only to a point.

    >”Leftist atheists critize other atheist as they dare to critize muslims?”

    Criticism is just soooooo painfulllllllll everyone! They have to dare to do it. And it’s just soooooo hard to point to a criticism and explain why the criticism is bad.

    >”From a perspective of an European living in one of the most atheist states in the world (yes, you would be considered „weird“ if you go to church here actually), …”

    Oh shit! They ranked uber-athiest everyone! They automatically get + eleventy in atheist social challenges!

    Maybe you can just skip to the part where you point to something that turns your subjective non-literalism,

    >”…this is crazy.”

    …into some characteristics that actually describe more than your feelings about something. Your place of residence is so far irrelevant at the level of detail offered.

     

    >”It really looks like Social justice is the new religion.”

     

    By all means, cite the religious characteristics you see. You will be the first to actually do it if you grow a spine and provide information that is actually useful to another human being beyond you and your feelings.

  78. says

    SAAD
    Criticize?
    We’re talking about generalizations, prejudice, and discrimination.
    In the U.S., Muslims are a vilified group. A bunch of white people disparaging them using broad generalizations and dog whistled racism isn’t criticism.

    I do not agree with the above, but even you consider this to be true, you are basically saying, that because of this, people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkings should not criticize islam as a religion?

  79. says

    John Morales
    How you supposedly get from atheists criticising atheists (just as you’re doing, interestingly) to that conclusion is opaque.
    In any case, social justice is an ethical stance, not a religious one.

    Figure of speech of course, but the group-think is obvious (everything is islamophobic etc.). Not the point of my post though

  80. says

    Charly
    Josev Duben, please do not presume that all of our countrymen are as islamophobic as our current president is, or as immoral as our former president was. Some of us actually do lok at the evidence and see that islam is in principle not worse than christianity, and that in many cases the pretense of criticising islam is only used as a convenient cudgel to bash brown people (both metaphotically and literally). There is a lot of legitimate criticism to be levied against islam. There is unfortunately also a lot of abuse of this criticism by racists and fascists.

    Islam is currently the most dangerous and religion out there. Also most ridiculous among the major religions. Here, in Europe Christianity is harmless and from here I do not see for Bible Belt to have any real effect US either. At least not on media. From objective perspective, Islamic countries ara among the most backward places in the world. I would not waste much time on criticizing Christianity. Its decline in the West is massive if you look at the numbers. Mass immigration however bring back issues, that I thought are behind us.

  81. says

    Interesting. I see Saad saying there are problems with how criticism is done, not that it can’t be done. The response to John indicates that they think it just fine to assert group-think without pointing it out. Groups come to a consensus as a matter of how they work, and an irrational consensus is still an assertion only here. That we have a consensus is meaningless. The responses to Charly simply ignore the bigotry in the criticism we don’t like (irrationally treating Muslims as a single entity in the criticism we critisize) and simply asserts that Islam is extra special, like that justifies the bigoted criticism which is critisizable even if true.

    Interesting. This is behavior that is definitely not restricted to atheists.

  82. Saad says

    Josef Duben, #92

    I do not agree with the above, but even you consider this to be true, you are basically saying, that because of this, people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkings should not criticize islam as a religion?

    Well, you can’t disagree with facts really: That Muslims are a marginalized group is a basic fact of American society.

    And I said nothing about criticizing the religion called Islam. And no thank, I’m not going to play the game you and your kind like to play of labeling generalizations and prejudice against Muslims as “criticism of Islam.”

  83. chigau (違う) says

    When quoting another comnent, you can do this:
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    Resulting in this

    paste copied text here

    or
    <b>bold</b>
    bold
    or
    <i>italic</i>
    italic
    any of these will make it easier for the reader to determine who said what.

  84. Saad says

    Brony, #97

    I guess I would say that saying it’s not criticism is a bit far, I think irrational criticism fits better. But I think I have your meaning. If I don’t I definitely want to know.

    Yeah, I guess it’s still criticism. But that’s using the word criticism in a weird way. It would be like labeling the spreading of fear of trans people molesting kids in bathrooms as criticism.

    I’m not talking about criticizing Islam, by the way. I’m talking about painting Muslims in America as some untrustworthy, anti-American dangers to society. Like saying we need to profile them and be honest about it. Like using quote marks around the word “kid” when tweeting about a 14-year old who got arrested and threatened with expulsion for messing around with a clock. None of those are criticisms of Islam. They’re the same things white society does to black people (particularly black children).

    As for criticism of Islam, I don’t trust the motivation of never-Muslim atheists living in places like America who focus on criticizing Islam either (especially when it’s being done to an equal or greater extent than criticizing Christianity). After all, Islam is causing almost no problems to their society whereas Christianity is wreaking havoc.

  85. says

    Well, you can’t disagree with facts really: That Muslims are a marginalized group is a basic fact of American society.
    And I said nothing about criticizing the religion called Islam. And no thank, I’m not going to play the game you and your kind like to play of labeling generalizations and prejudice against Muslims as “criticism of Islam.”

    I see, you are playing your own game. Pointing at people without a proof. Where is e.g. Sam Harris prejudiced?

  86. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Where is e.g. Sam Harris prejudiced?

    If you aren’t paying attention, you can’t be educated in that fact. Harris is a bigot by his own statements about Islam and women. He backtracks like hell to confuse those who are also inclined to bigotry, but that doesn’t fool those who see his bigotry in his own statements.

  87. says

    @Saad
    I’m just going to think about that one. I’m not the one who should be pushing such language change. To be fair I’ve felt some wierdness at my use of irrational discrimination and irrational prejudice, it’s just that the irrational part has been useful in functionally highlighting the problem and contrasting with rational versions (which feel weird as positive terms). Additionally there is the rhetorical value of the word reason. But I’m sure my perspective is limited and I can see the value in limiting the use of the word criticism.

  88. Saad says

    Josef Duben, #101

    I see, you are playing your own game. Pointing at people without a proof. Where is e.g. Sam Harris prejudiced?

    I just listed one of his several examples in the very next post of mine.

    You either have not been reading or listening to Sam Harris, or you are a dishonest ass who just wants me to argue, or you agree with the anti-Muslim bigotry coming from these prominent atheists so you don’t find it prejudiced.

    In either case, I’m not interested in engaging with people like you. It’s not my obligation to educate you.

    Brony, #103

    To be fair I’ve felt some wierdness at my use of irrational discrimination and irrational prejudice, it’s just that the irrational part has been useful in functionally highlighting the problem and contrasting with rational versions (which feel weird as positive terms).

    I know what you are saying and a while back I would have agreed. I’m just over being charitable and taking great care to use technically correct and neutral language about these people. It feels like giving them an inch. I’d much rather use prejudice, hatemongering, and bigotry to describe the bile that spews out of atheists like Harris or Condell instead of irrational criticism. While their words are indeed criticism and that criticism is certainly irrational, using that term for them doesn’t convey the evil and danger they pose. It feels like when a young white dude’s heinous crime is described with a very watered down headline in a newspaper.

  89. lazarx says

    “claim blacks do have lower IQ than whites
    This is just a fact. I don’t think anyone familiar with the research disputes this.
    The issue is whether the difference in IQ is due to genetics or environment (I think the evidence points to the latter).

    No… it’s not a fact. Because there is no science attached to that statement. The standard IQ tests are culturally biased. And frequently have questions in the category of “Which women is more pretty” that have an age bias that reflects this country’s obsession with youth. We simply don’t have a scientifically backed standard meter to measure intelligence. It’s becoming increasingly questionable that such is possible, or even desirable.

    The logical explanation is that there is no such thing as an unbroken IQ meter.

  90. says

    @Saad
    Ah! I think it makes sense to me now. My use of irrational discrimination and irrational prejudice actually began as overt defense of using bigot, racist, sexist…

    This is very useful. Thank you for offering your perspective. I’ll modify my language appropriately.

  91. Vivec says

    Here, in Europe Christianity is harmless and from here I do not see for Bible Belt to have any real effect US either.

    Uh, ever heard of “the Republican party platform”?

    Like, conservative Christianity is inexorably tied with the american Right, it’s literally embedded into all of their planks, so idk what the fuck you’re talking about.

  92. Vivec says

    Like, 90% of the time you see someone pushing homophobic, racist, misogynist legislation, it’s justified by the legislator’s STRONG CHRISTIAN MORALS

  93. David Dobson says

    Vivec @108:

    Like, 90% of the time you see someone pushing homophobic, racist, misogynist legislation, it’s justified by the legislator’s STRONG CHRISTIAN MORALS

    LIKE, WHY ARE YOU SHOUTING? LIKE, THE PERSON YOU WERE REPLYING TO WAS TALKING ABOUT EUROPE NOT THE US. LIKE, THEY DON’T HAVE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OVER THERE. LIKE, THERE ARE COUNTRIES WHERE LEGISLATORS DON’T HAVE “STRONG CHRISTIAN MORALS” *scary ghost sound effect*

  94. Vivec says

    @109
    I’m not shouting? I was imitating the way that US politicians do religious signalling.

    Also, the part I quoted was talking about the US

    Here, in Europe Christianity is harmless and from here I do not see for Bible Belt to have any real effect US either.

    Also religious signalling isn’t unique to the US. Off the top of my head, a lot of the opposition to gay marriage in France was christian virtue-signalling under the cover of “French law isn’t supposed to recognize minority groups”

  95. KG says

    Here, in Europe Christianity is harmless – Josef Duben@94

    There speaks someone who is clearly either extremely ignorant, or extremely dishonest. Even in those parts of Europe where religion is weak, it is from religious bigots that the main opposition to marriage equality has come; and in those same countries, a long history of child sex abuse and the institutionalised concealment of the same has emerged. Meanwhile, Christian bigotry against both other Christians, and people of other religions, has been responsible for much of the worst violence in Europe over the past decades (former Yugoslavia, northern Ireland), and is central to the far right regimes now trying to establish disctatorships in Poland and Hungary. And in Russia (yes, Josef, Europe does include a large part of Russia) the Orthodox Church id both beneficiary and enabler of Putin’s brutal regime.

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