The New Atheism[s]Personal reflections by John Wilkins
What is Atheism?Personal position: practical atheist and philosophical agnosticHistorically, atheism is “not of an approve...
What is the NewAtheism?
Doctrines of NewAtheismSame as the old atheism, but primarily socialOften conflates broad with narrow versions, however,un...
AccommodationismThe new atheism is generally exclusivist:One cannot rationally believe in religion and science simultaneou...
ElevatorgateRebecca Watson (“skepchick”) at the World Atheist Conventionin Dublin June 2011Approached at 4am in an elevato...
Who said what?Here’s what Watson said:“Just a word to the wise here, guys. Don’t do that. Idon’t know how else to explain ...
Who said what?Here’s Dawkins’ response:Dear MuslimaStop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilate...
Who said what?Comments include:“The whiny little girl who complained about the man in the elevatorneeds to get a taste of ...
TribalismNeed for a nonreligious community, but how?Can you based a community on what the people aren’t?Costly signalling ...
Conclusion:Positivism reduxNew atheism is basically Comtean positivismHistory is progressive, and there are winners andlos...
Linkshttp://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/http://www.the-brights.net/http://atheismplus.com/http://www.athe...
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New atheism

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New atheism

  1. 1. The New Atheism[s]Personal reflections by John Wilkins
  2. 2. What is Atheism?Personal position: practical atheist and philosophical agnosticHistorically, atheism is “not of an approved religion”Privative atheism: not-theism (the broad sense)NOT “there is a god”Positive atheism: no-theos-ism (the narrow sense)“There is NOT-god”Philosophically: primarily about knowledge
  3. 3. What is the NewAtheism?
  4. 4. Doctrines of NewAtheismSame as the old atheism, but primarily socialOften conflates broad with narrow versions, however,unlike Russell’s versionIs “scientistic” (positivist)Called “militant” and”fundamentalist” by religious criticsto make it a parallel with religionMe: NAism is not like a religion intellectually, but it issocially, or tries to be
  5. 5. AccommodationismThe new atheism is generally exclusivist:One cannot rationally believe in religion and science simultaneouslyOne does not need to debate religion, only show that science fails tosupport it (scientism)Those who assert that the religious can be scientifically literate are of the“Chamberlain School of Evolution” (NOMA)Agnostics are “namby-pamby, mushy pap, weak-tea, weedy, pallidfence-sitters”, “cowards”, and lack commitment (mischaracterisation ofagnosticism)Seem to think that accommodationism is the view that science can betailored to suit religion; in fact we argue the exact opposite: religion hasto come to terms with actual science (as it always has)
  6. 6. ElevatorgateRebecca Watson (“skepchick”) at the World Atheist Conventionin Dublin June 2011Approached at 4am in an elevator by a convention attendeefor coffee in his roomGave a mild mannered online video asking skeptic men toshow a little sensitivity, as she felt sexualised and threatenedResponse was appalling: attacks on her personality, calls forrape, even Richard Dawkins said he didn’t see the problemContinues today, two years later
  7. 7. Who said what?Here’s what Watson said:“Just a word to the wise here, guys. Don’t do that. Idon’t know how else to explain how this makes mevery uncomfortable, but I’ll just sort of lay it out: Iwas a single women in foreign country in a hotelelevator with you, just you, and I—don’t invite meback to your hotel room right after I finish talkingabout how it creeps me out and makes meuncomfortable when men sexualize me in thatmanner.”
  8. 8. Who said what?Here’s Dawkins’ response:Dear MuslimaStop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade,and . . . yawn . . . dont tell me yet again, I know you arent allowed to drive a car, and youcant leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, andyoull be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of thesuffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep"chick", and do you know whathappened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am notexaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no,and of course he didnt lay a finger on her, but even so . . .And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up,or at least grow a thicker skin.Richard
  9. 9. Who said what?Comments include:“The whiny little girl who complained about the man in the elevatorneeds to get a taste of real life. She needs to be slapped intoreality. Send the snot to the Middle East and make her live the lifeof a Muslim woman for a year or two. Maybe that will make a realwoman of the spoiled bitch.”She should be in fear of being raped and then she’d really havesomething to complain aboutEtc.It’s fairly clear that new atheism is not immune from standardbehaviours of humans, including privilege
  10. 10. TribalismNeed for a nonreligious community, but how?Can you based a community on what the people aren’t?Costly signalling hypothesisMarketing campaigns:Skeptics: been around since 500BCE or soHumanists: been around since 1500 or soBrights: Dawkins’ attempt to rebrand skepticism and atheismAtheism Plus (new New Atheists): “plus social responsibility”
  11. 11. Conclusion:Positivism reduxNew atheism is basically Comtean positivismHistory is progressive, and there are winners andlosersAnything that isn’t science is nonsenseReligion is unmitigated evil (Comte would havedisagreed)Need for community based on positive values, notnegative denials
  12. 12. Linkshttp://skepchick.org/2011/07/the-privilege-delusion/http://www.the-brights.net/http://atheismplus.com/http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/09/why-atheism-plus-is-perceived-as.htmlMy posts:http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2008/08/01/what-is-atheism/http://scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts/2006/12/30/atheism-and-agnosticism-again/http://evolvingthoughts.net/2009/06/definitions-of-atheism/http://evolvingthoughts.net/2011/07/atheism-agnosticism-and-theism-the-landscape-part-1/http://evolvingthoughts.net/2007/06/what_is_an_agnostic_by_bertran/

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