Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog


with 7 comments

So try this


It was on Arts and Letters Daily today, about the “new Atheism” and that sort of thing.

Written by janeh

March 6th, 2012 at 9:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses to 'Interesting'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Interesting'.

  1. It’s not in the least surprising, although the analysis is quite good. Many people who choose a worldview become convinced that everyone else should share it too, and a certain percentage of those decide that evanelization isn’t enough, it’s time to draw the lines between us and them, attack the right of them to exist, and ensure ideological purity among he us, especially any who might be suspected of tolerance towards them, or otherwise unorthodox thoughts. I don’t think 9-11 has much to do with it, to be honest. It’s a perfectly normal result of atheists becoming sufficiently numerous to move from peaceful evangelization to an attempt to re-design society along their lines. ‘Normal’ of course isn’t the same thing as ‘generally beneficial’. I think as well the weakness and lack of conviction among many of the religious and of course philosophical trends encouraging people to believe in very little helped the process along. Messy thinking…yeah, they’ve got a lot of that. It’s useful for stirring up emotions and when you’re all worked up about the EEEEEEEEVILS of religion (or the enemy of the day) you don’t need to actually listen to its supporters, analyse what they’re saying or even make much sense yourself. You see a lot of this sort of ‘discourse’ in political ‘debate’ too.


    6 Mar 12 at 10:43 am

  2. Pretty much with Cheryl. He neatly pegs the key features of the “new atheism” but to blame 9-11 for activities he himself describes in the 1990’s is a bit of a stretch.

    I’d say there is a way of thinking since at least the immediate aftermath of WW II–I’m thinking of the psychological testing of the Nuremburg defendants and the invention of the “F Scale.” The adherents are atheist, leftist, often without deep roots in a culture or ethnicity and educated in a fairly tight bunch of majors centering around Sociology and Psychology. (What the majors have in common is that they all seek to explain human behavior without the use of history, literature, philosophy, custom or tradition.) These people don’t just believe they have all the political answers, but that all their opponents are stupid, crazy or some combination of the two. The longer other people go on not paying much attention to this way of thinking the louder the adherents become, with the “new atheism” just the next notch on the dial.

    The good news is that I find them quite easy to ignore.


    6 Mar 12 at 6:45 pm

  3. “To hardline atheists, it is now unreasonable and “dramatically peculiar” to argue that religion is not altogether evil. How did such intolerance become acceptable to rational minds?”

    I think those introductory sentences pretty much render the rest of the article redundant. The obvious conclusion is that rational minds don’t inhabit the sort of blindly bigotted individuals that make up the bulk of any group of fanatics, be they religious or anti-religious, whether or not the gods are the traditional ones or neo-deities such as Gaia.

    I think the underlying problem is simply naked intolerance which seems to have spiralled out of control in recent times. An interesting book on that subject is Frank Furedi’s “On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence”. ( http://tinyurl.com/7y3youw )


    6 Mar 12 at 7:05 pm

  4. I don’t think the connection between “new atheism” and 911 is anything other than “post hoc ergo propter hoc”. I can’t add anything to what Cheryl and Robert have said.

    This might add some heat to the discussion:
    Its about a campaign for atheists to come out of the closet.


    7 Mar 12 at 2:02 pm

  5. Well, while I would like to think I’m not of the radicalized bunch, still, there’s stuff like this:


    My little pick up truck with its Darwin fish routinely kept getting nails in its tires for no discernible reason, it’s radio antenna regularly turned into a pretzel. One time I lost a tire on the highway because I hadn’t noticed the tire was low before leaving home.

    I’ve never had any such assortment of issues with any other vehicle.



    7 Mar 12 at 2:49 pm

  6. Michael, your willingness to consider ‘coincidence’ displays a touching conviction that non-atheists or religious believers or whoever you suspect of the vandalism are immune to the faults that were previously pointed out in the thinking and actions of certain atheists.

    Unfortunately, I think you are mistaken, and that such behaviour is part of human nature, probably deeply rooted in the instincts that helped group cohesion back when our ancestors were a bunch of apes. Religions tend to realize this, and have various methods of varying degrees of efficacy to battle our innate tendency to do nasty things to people we don’t like. I’m not sure how broadly such teachings are found in the varied ranks of the non-believers. I know some are people of the highest ethical beliefs, who have not only thought about how to treat others, but live their beliefs. Others…well, the atheist world seems even more fractured than the religous one, if that were possible, so there’s no particular reason to assume that some atheists wouldn’t engage in minor vandalism as well as public campaigns to abuse and restrict religious believers.


    7 Mar 12 at 6:04 pm

  7. Just for a change of pace and a but of humor, I saw a man wearing this T shirt a few days ago.



    7 Mar 12 at 6:41 pm

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Bad Behavior has blocked 865 access attempts in the last 7 days.