Atheists Debate How Pushy to Be
The confusion started by the Pew research poll is now in evidence in the muddled New Atheist camp.
I think it is time get pushy back, and demand from New Atheists some ground for simple agnosticism. The question of ‘god’ is beyond resolution: the attempt to pretend otherwise is a puzzling development. Why this strangely warped cult of disbelief?
The attempt to create a new cultic dogma out of atheism can only succeed in counterproductive outcomes.
The Pew poll was totally misleading, if not rigged from the start: the New Atheists are especially obtuse on the question of religion, even if they can spout better factual answers to a meaningless poll quiz. Their ignorance of the breadth and depth of religion is almost beyond belief. The all time prize goes to Hitchens for denying the existence of Buddhist enlightenment.
I think that agnosticism can’t be demanded from New Atheists, as the only way to in public, whatever they wish to state as their personal beliefs, taken on faith.
Kant exposed the bogus proofs of the existence of god. Time to see the same in the New Atheist cult of true believers who think, like Dawkins, that atheism can be foundationalized by scientism/darwinism.
Don’t let these closet Nietzscheans oozing the nice guy routine wreck the balance of real secularism.
Atheists outperform “protheists” on religion test
This test is misleading and merely shows that atheists tend to be better informed and smarter at facts. But they are not smarter on religion as such, as the New Atheist movement shows.
Keep in mind that religion includes immense numbers of people who are handicapped compared to well off and well educated atheists.
The sad reality is that scientism/Darwinism has made scientists and atheists totally brain dead on issues of religion.
Why Atheism Will Replace Religion
Atheism is a peculiarly modern phenomenon. Why do modern conditions produce atheism? Does this mean that religion is on the way out?
This thinking is shallow and fallacious. The Protestant Reformation was the first quintessentially modern movement. That it stopped developing in the era of the Enlightenment notwithstanding.
Atheism was a sideshow in the Enlightenment beginning to modernity. Atheism is forever turning into a cult for cranks, as with the New Atheists.
Further it has been mixed with a metaphysics of scientism and Darwinism that has corrupted it, and will discredit it.
Atheism is far more ancient than Axial monotheism and was the original matrix of much primordial religion. But it was not atheism as now peddled by the likes of Dawkins, who has made it hard for many atheists to use that term.
The point here is that Axial monotheism may well come to an end, but the possible substitution of ‘atheism’ in its current cult brand would be a cultural calamity of Social Darwinist Nietzscheans and nihilist culture criminals. The ‘atheism’ of Buddhism, which it inherited from greater antiquity was not the silly form we now see, and was barely either theistic or atheistic.
We can go on and on here, but the strange reality is that New Atheism is ironically discrediting atheism.
One very ancient related view here was agnostic polytheism, with an agnosticism about ‘god’, a belief in polytheism, but a mistrust of such divinities, with an insistance on freeing religion from exploitation by same divinities. Remains of these views (in some ways upgraded) are visible in the recycled brand known as Buddhism which is almost closer to us than primordial Shaivism/Jainism.
Why Do Atheists Know More About Religion?
Whatever the relative comparison, the reality is that the New Atheists are very ignorant about religion, especially the complex realities of world religion. So this poll is a deceptive piece.
The most dreadful cases are the Big Four, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett.
Hitchens’ take on Buddhism in his book is truly dreadful, and dangerous, as ignorance
This poll seems paper airplane status.
Beyond the “New Atheism”?
Whatever the case with the ‘new atheism’ in general, one of the traps, or else, deceptions, of the onset, viz. via Harris’ spiel, was the concealed hatred of Moslems, and the use of 9/11 to subtly feed that.
Have none of these smartie nerds ever heard of 9/11 conspiracy theories. Where’s their indignation at the way the CIA et al. set up Moslems for patsies in this intelligence crime of the US government?
Whereas religion had seemed benign, if not actually true, to many thinking people, the September 11 attacks, the widespread religion-based opposition to stem cell and therapeutic cloning research
, the never-ending resistance to gay rights and abortion rights, the callous actions of the religious in the Schiavo affair, the Catholic Church’s appalling insensitivity towards abused children, and the many atrocities perpetrated daily in the name of religion of one kind or another, all converged to create a sense that human religiosity has a dark side of cruelty, dogmatism, moral blindness, authoritarianism, and intolerance.
Atheism could do without Dawkins as its advocate
“Rather than attacking Dawkins, the Pope and all his followers ought to encourage him”
I am often puzzled by the New Atheists: if you had to invent a movement that would end up strengthening its opponent, you couldn’t do better.
And if you wanted an opponent sure to fail, again you couldn’t do better.
The New Atheism tends to veil the faults of Christianity and make its defense compulsive.
Is Atheism A Positive Force in America?
By ABC NEWS – ABC NEWS
Updated: Friday, 20 August 2010 at 2:20 PM
Whaddya got?By JERRY COYNE – WHY EVOLUTION IS TRUE
Added: Monday, 16 August 2010 at 11:09 AM
Gary Gutting, professor of philosophy at The University of Notre Dame, has been bashing atheism in the New York Times. His latest column, a critique of Gnu Atheism, has been pretty well eviscerated at Butterflies and Wheels and Pharyngula. I want to talk about something that hasn’t yet come up: Gutting’s complete failure to show that we should take the existence of God seriously. He’s adept at producing philoso-speak, but a miserable failure at adducing evidence
The problem is that atheists have the same problem, in reverse. In that context, the question of Kantian antinomies shows the way the debate is even, and insoluble.
Shallow, smug, arrogant; pot, kettle, black
By RUSSELL BLACKFORD – METAMAGICIAN AND THE HELLFIRE CLUB
Added: Saturday, 14 August 2010 at 9:17 AM
Sometimes you have to answer back
The anti-atheist diatribe recently published by Suzanne Fields in The Washington Times is of such poor quality that it scarcely merits a response. Unfortunately, I can’t allow every such meretricious piece to go unrebutted: there are so many of them that there’s a significant cumulative impact if we let too many through without comment. At least now and then, it’s worth taking the time to pick apart such a piece in some detail, if only to demonstrate just how intellectually empty it is.
Since Fields has mentioned my (and Udo Schuklenk’s) edited anthology, 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, her article has been drawn to my attention, so she gets to be my target this time round. Fields’ article is not merely intellectually empty, though it certainly is that: again and again it demonstrates the very arrogance that she accuses her opponents of.
Fields’ article is bereft of even one worthwhile point, though it does offer up a few useless, platitudinous truths. Unfortunately, there’s obviously a market for such pieces as long as they attack an easily-demonised group such as outspoken atheists.
The sub-editor strikes, and strikes again!
Let’s start with the article’s title: “The new dance on a pinhead.” I’m going to give Fields a pass with this one. While it’s a poor choice of title, having little to do with the article itself, it was probably the creation of a sub-editor. It implies that Fields is about to discuss a group of people who fundamentally agree with each other but waste their time in bizarre and arcane debates, remote from the issues that real matter. Nothing in the article actually accuses anyone of doing that, exactly, or argues that any such debate is currently going on. So the title is completely inappropriate, but I’ll blame that on the sub-editor.
By GARY GUTTING – NEW YORK TIMES
Added: Friday, 13 August 2010 at 12:47 PM
My August 1 essay, “Philosophy and Faith,” was primarily addressed to religious believers. It argued that faith should go hand-in-hand with rational reflection, even though such reflection might well require serious questioning of their faith. I very much appreciated the many and diverse comments and the honesty and passion with which so many expressed their views. Interestingly, many of the most passionate responses came from non-believers who objected to my claim that popular atheistic arguments (like popular theistic arguments) do not establish their conclusions. There was particular dismay over my passing comment that the atheistic arguments of Richard Dawkins are “demonstrably faulty.” This follow-up provides support for my negative assessment. I will focus on Dawkins’ arguments in his 2006 book, “The God Delusion.”
Dawkins’s writing gives the impression of clarity, but his readable style can cover over major conceptual confusions. For example, the core of his case against God’s existence, as he summarizes it on pages 188-189, seems to go like this:
There is need for an explanation of the apparent design of the universe.
The universe is highly complex.
An intelligent designer of the universe would be even more highly complex.
A complex designer would itself require an explanation.
Therefore, an intelligent designer will not provide an explanation of the universe’s complexity.
On the other hand, the (individually) simple processes of natural selection can explain the apparent design of the universe.
Therefore, an intelligent designer (God) almost certainly does not exist.
(Here I’ve formulated Dawkins’ argument a bit more schematically than he does and omitted his comments on parallels in physics to the explanations natural selection provides for apparent design in biology.)
As formulated, this argument is an obvious non-sequitur. The premises (1-6), if true, show only that God cannot be posited as the explanation for the apparent design of the universe, which can rather be explained by natural selection. They do nothing to show that “God almost certainly does not exist” (189).
But the ideas behind premises 3 and 4 suggest a more cogent line of argument, which Dawkins seems to have in mind in other passages:
If God exists, he must be both the intelligent designer of the universe and a being that explains the universe but is not itself in need of explanation.
An intelligent designer of the universe would be a highly complex being.
A highly complex being would itself require explanation.
Therefore, God cannot be both the intelligent designer of the universe and the ultimate explanation of the universe.
Therefore, God does not exist.
Here the premises do support the conclusion, but premise 2, at least, is problematic. In what sense does Dawkins think God is complex and why does this complexity require an explanation? He does not discuss this in any detail, but his basic idea seems to be that the enormous knowledge and power God would have to possess would require a very complex being and such complexity of itself requires explanation. He says for example: “A God capable of continuously monitoring and controlling the individual status of every particle in the universe cannot be simple” (p. 178). And, a bit more fully, “a God who is capable of sending intelligible signals to millions of people simultaneously, and of receiving messages from all of them simultaneously, cannot be . . . simple. Such bandwidth! . . . If [God] has the powers attributed to him he must have something far more elaborately and randomly constructed than the largest brain or the largest computer we know” (p. 184).
Dawkins ignores the possibility that God is a very different sort of being than brains and computers
What If…By SHAWN BROWN – BLACK SKEPTICS GROUP
Added: Wednesday, 04 August 2010 at 03:07 PM
Black atheist! Do these words mean anything? Certainly not if such a person does not exist.
Everyone knows that black people love Jesus. With tears in our eyes and a bittersweet joy in our hearts, we marvel at the wonder of the divine. With hands raised high we sway to our own celestial rhythm. With a look of transcendent torment upon our faces, we sing His praises. Don’t we love Jesus? Don’t we all love Jesus?
Public Perceptions of Atheism By HITCHENS_JNR
Added: Saturday, 31 July 2010 at 01:38 PM
I was inspired to write this by the discussion on the “Four Horsemen” video. There’s a part of the video where they discuss the “image problem” that atheism has, especially in the US. Many people seem to asume that atheists are pessimistic, joyless, cruel, uncharitable, untrustworthy etc etc. Christian apologists are quick to whip out the argument that Hitler and Stalin were atheists (even though Hitler probably wasn’t, and even though Stalin probably learned a lot about how to control people through fear in his youthful studies at an Orthodox seminary, and even though Christians are bound to lose any arguments about cruelty and oppression, seeing as how their religion is caked in two thousand years’ worth of heretical blood!!) Opponents of atheism always raise the spectre of social Darwinism, and some of its crueller tenets, as if this is a necessary consequence of a lack of faith in God. Then there’s that famous survey which shows that atheists are the least trusted group of people in the US.
Anyway, two questions suggest themselves:
1) Where does this mistrust of atheism in public and private life originate?
2) What do you think atheists can do to improve how atheism is perceived in the world at large?
I wonder how many believers who are seriously questioning the existence of God are deterred from becoming atheists because of nasty preconceptions about what atheists are like
The Godless Delusion: I haven’t read this book, so will be wary of comment, save to note that we have denounced the ‘godless delusion’ for three years at this blog, from a viewpoint that is neither theistic nor atheistic.
Something about the New Atheists drives people to denounce them, and their strategy is hopelessly flawed, with its ignorance of religious history, its scientism, Darwinism, and Bertie Russell ‘scorn syndrome’ so wilfully ignorant of the complexities.
I think that this cult of the New Atheists is a sign of desperation, as domination of Christianity and Islam try to make a comeback, a very ominous development in the long run were they to be successful.
The ‘godless delusion’ for me lies in the way a new belief system in reverse comes into existence around this brand of atheism. It is actually worse than Christianity.
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