Sigh. I might once have been willing to take exception to this characterization of the history of New Atheism, but I can’t anymore. I just can’t. It’s all too true, and what should have been an opportunity for reason to rise ascendant has been drowned in a rising flood of idiots who use “reason” as an empty buzzword.
Once Bush left office, the promoters of “intelligent design” curricula retreated from the public sphere, and millennials asserted themselves as the least religious generation to date; the group that had coalesced around the practice logically refuting creationists needed new targets. One of the targets they chose was women. Militant atheism had always been male-dominated, but it took several years and a sea change in American politics for the sexism within its ranks to fully bloom. In 2011, skeptic blogger Rebecca Watson described in a YouTube video how a male fellow attendee of an atheist conference had followed her into an elevator at 4 a.m. in order to ask her on a date—behavior that, understandably, made her uncomfortable. The community erupted into what was later remembered as “Elevatorgate.” A forum was created to harass Watson, and Richard Dawkins himself wrote a comment telling her to “stop whining” because she had it better than victims of honor killings and female genital mutilation.
This dynamic played out again and again. In 2012, the popular atheist vlogger Thunderf00t (real name Phil Mason) aimed his sights at Watson in a video titled “Why ‘Feminism’ is poisoning Atheism,” thereby reigniting the previous year’s controversy. This time it took off, leading him to create several follow-up videos accusing women of destroying the paradise that was New Atheism for their own gain. In 2013, Mason inaugurated his “FEMINISM vs. FACTS” series of videos, which attacked Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist video game critic who was then receiving an onslaught of harassment and violent threats for daring to analyze Super Mario Bros. This sort of idiocy, combined, again, with the growing popularity of jibes associating outspoken atheists with fedoras, neckbeards, and virginity, led to an exodus of liberals and leftists from the “atheist” tent. Those who remained for the most part lacked in social skills and self-awareness, and the results were disastrous.
And then the author starts talking about Stefan Molyneux and James Damore, and it just gets worse.
So here we are. There is still no god, religion is bunk, but the atheist movement has become a dogmatic label used by assholes, racists, and misogynists.