Posted by: serrels | May 16, 2010

The New Atheists

Hey everyone, I’m planning to chuck up another post tomorrow, but I thought I’d just quickly link to this – a piece by Damon Linker at The New Republic. It takes aim at new Atheists (Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens for example) who…

“… rudely insist, usually without argument, that atheism is a glorious, unambiguous benefit to mankind both individually and collectively.”

It follows on from an older article called Atheism’s Wrong Turn which is a much longer read, but well worth the trouble if you have the time. I consider myself to be an atheist, but I found both pieces extremely interesting.

As always, let me know what you think below.

Hopefully I’ll hopefully have something a bit longer up by tomorrow!

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  1. new atheists are just the old atheists that catholics aren’t allowed to burn anymore

    and – all are believers are atheists about other people’s gods, we just go one god further

    • I think you’re confusing attribution versus existence.

      Many religions have different irreconcilable ideas on the attributes of a ‘God’, they are not atheistic, they simply disagree on what ‘God’ is. The Agnostics get the parley perk here too.

      Atheists by definition don’t really have much place within Theistic debate, they branch off at a lower level than attribution: existence; “is there a God?”.

  2. I would suggest that Damon Linker objects to the ‘affirmative action’ being encouraged by Dawkins et al. This affirmative action, in turn, is the only appropriate response to the discrimination segregation and vitriol that is quite openly and shamelessly heaped upon atheists (according to Dawkins).

    What I find most galling about Linker’s post is this: “The point is not that atheism must invariably terminate in a tragic view of the world; another of Hart’s atheistic heroes, David Hume, seems to have thought that it was perfectly possible to live a happy and decent life as a non-believer.”

    Are we to believe that happiness is predicated on a belief in God?

    In defending his belief in God, Linker has rendered an attack on a demographic of people from several questionable assumptions.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Dawkins, but neither do i agree with Linker.

    Two wrongs do not make a right.

  3. I found this post interesting because it highlights ‘New Atheism’s’ reluctance to discuss theology – instead choosing to lazily argue that they shouldn’t need to on the basis that there is no proof of God’s existence.

    Both Dawkins and Hitchens explicitly state that their goal is to de-convert Christians, but they very rarely debate with them on the theological level. In Dawkins case it’s fair enough (he is a Biologist after all) but it’s a huge gap in his argument. As a non-Christian reading the God Delusion, I kept waiting for Dawkins to start writing about the internal inconsistencies of the Bible – but that moment never came.

    The fact is that most atheists (not all) have a very basic understanding of theology – at best a cobbled together collection of bible verses designed to prove their point and their point alone – which is fine, but most well read Christians will (quite rightly in some instances) reject their opinion as uninformed.

    If New Atheism wants to de-convert Christians, they have to do a more thorough job of it I reckon!

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