Mixing Memory

The Plight of the New Atheists

I’m sorry, I simply couldn’t resist.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    July 5, 2007

    Yes, yes, I did see it too – we are being repressed.

  2. #2 Cheryl
    July 5, 2007

    What can this have to do with athiesm?

  3. #3 Chris
    July 5, 2007

    Cheryl, help, help, I’m being repressed! Didn’t you see the recent atheism conversation?

  4. #4 Cheryl
    July 5, 2007

    If you mean the discussion here back in April, you overestimate my memory.

    If not, forget I asked.

  5. #5 Chris
    July 5, 2007

    Cheryl, no, the one about whether there’s a civil rights issue where atheism is concerned, and whether atheists are oppressed (or in this case, repressed).

  6. #6 J. J. Ramsey
    July 7, 2007

    With all due respect, I think you are overreacting to the atheists who use civil rights as a sympathy ploy or an excuse for bad behavior, and downplaying a real problem that those atheists happen to exploit. For atheists, civil rights seems like an intermittent problem. A lot of the time, you’ll be fine, but if you are in the wrong community, or circumstances hit the wrong way, you get something like the Smalkowski case or worse.

  7. #7 Chris
    July 7, 2007

    J.J., the Smallkowski case has always just struck me as odd. The principal offered to drop the charges if the family left the state? Huh? I’m glad he wasn’t convicted, since it sounds like the two were just being idiots with each other, but it also sounds like both sides were slinging bullshit. That’s not to say I don’t think atheism played a role. I’m just not sure how much it played a role.

    Regardless of the facts of the Smallkowski case, though, I don’t doubt that under the right circumstances, someone’s atheism can get them in trouble. Of course, that’s true for just about anything (including, even in this country, being a Christian). But the new atheists are, as you note, using civil rights. So I have no problem making fun of them a little. Especially when they cry civil rights, civil rights, and then PZ and others write posts about how no new atheist has ever cried civil rights.

  8. #8 Duae Quartunciae
    July 8, 2007

    Chris, I don’t think PZ has ever written such a post. He did say that neither he nor Richard Dawkins cried civil rights; and that seems to be true.

    I have disagreed strongly with PZ at times; but what mainly gets me is when he says things that are simply not true. Same goes for the other side; you are saying things that are simply not true.

    No offense intended. Let’s just try to get the discussions about how to be an atheist a bit better grounded in what various people really are doing.

  9. #9 Chris
    July 8, 2007

    Duae, actually, I’m going by a PZ quote in our forums. I don’t read his blog anymore. In the forums he said, in essence, that contemporary atheists have not argued that atheism is a civil rights issue. He didn’t mean just he and Dawkins, but “new atheists” in general.

  10. #10 Duae Quartunciae
    July 8, 2007

    Ah. I’d be interested to see that quote. Have you a link? I’m not especially an apologist for PZ; just interested in accuracy. Cards on the table… I love reading Pharyngula, even when I disagree with it. PZ has even called me a “do nothing atheist” in Pharyngula post relating to my own blog, which was pretty dashed stupid given what he knows of me personally and what I was actually saying in the post he was addressing. So we’ve got some strong disagreements as well as common ground.

  11. #11 Chris
    July 8, 2007

    I can’t, unfortunately, provide you with a link. It’s SB’s internal forum, and it’s password protected. I also don’t think it’d be appropriate for me to give you the full quote. What it says, in essence, is that Dawkins and other contemporary atheists haven’t argued that their plight is akin to those of other groups who are or have in the past been fighting civil rights battles. Of course, you don’t have to believe me, but I have no reason to lie to you.

    I was actually a Pharyngula fan 3 years ago, when it was mostly biology with a smattering of politics and anti-ID. Now that it’s basically nothing but anti-creationism, often in the form of irrelevant comments on the personal lives of individual creationists, with the occasional personal anecdote, and almost no real biology, I just can’t stomach it. Even if I didn’t think that his atheism was the sort that you find in rebellious adolescents who are angry at their Christian parents and Christianity in general, I don’t think I’d read his blog. I have no interest in gossip about creationists, and if I want to learn some counterarguments, I’ll go to talk.origins where I can find everything PZ’s ever said on the matter and more.

    But I do enjoy making the occasional jab at the “new atheist,” mostly because I’m embarrassed to be associated with them, so it feels good to make them angry now and then. And they’re sensitive folk, so it’s easy to make them angry.

  12. #12 Danniel Soares
    July 8, 2007

    I’m against atheist-aimed affirmative actions such as quotas for atheists in schools. But specially for church attendance.

  13. #13 J. J. Ramsey
    July 8, 2007

    Duae Quartunciae: “Chris, I don’t think PZ has ever written such a post. He did say that neither he nor Richard Dawkins cried civil rights; and that seems to be true.”

    It’s true of Dawkins, but not of PZ. Actually, Larry Moran seems to have started it with a comparison to the suffragettes. I suppose that PZ’s contribution can be partly blamed on me. Pretty much what is happening is that the conduct of civil rights advocates is being used as justification for the excesses of the “New” Atheists.

  14. #14 Kevembuangga
    July 9, 2007

    Chris : But I do enjoy making the occasional jab at the “new atheist,” mostly because I’m embarrassed to be associated with them, so it feels good to make them angry now and then. And they’re sensitive folk, so it’s easy to make them angry.

    It feels good too to make the creationists and any other religious wackos “angry now and then” and “they’re sensitive folk, so it’s easy to make them angry”
    Don’t pray before eating?

  15. #15 Chris
    July 9, 2007

    You probably didn’t mean it this way, but yes, I take the “new atheists” to be religious whackos, or at least of the same basic psychology.

    Though it doesn’t pay to become obsessed with jabbing them.

  16. #16 Kevembuangga
    July 9, 2007

    I take the “new atheists” to be religious whackos

    That’s only an opinion of yours if you don’t back it by arguments.
    No matter what “excess” you see in new atheists the argument is not symmetrical : asserting utter nonsense in religion v/s being agressively intolerant of nonsense.
    Futhermore my main point was that you allow yourself to indulge in teasing and taunting while you deny others the same opportunity.
    Oh! They are “obsessive” and you’re not!
    Easy…

    Personal message : I wonder if this comment will be “moderated” just as a previous comment of mine took more than a week to appear.
    Very clever!

  17. #17 J. J. Ramsey
    July 9, 2007

    Kevembuangga: “No matter what ‘excess’ you see in new atheists the argument is not symmetrical : asserting utter nonsense in religion v/s being agressively intolerant of nonsense.”

    The problem is that the so-called New Atheists aren’t aggressively intolerant of nonsense–when it is from their own side. Take, for example, Duae Quartunciae’s being called a “do-nothing” by PZ Myers. Another example would be many atheists’ willingness to accept pseudohistory when it makes Christianity look bad. Richard Dawkins cited in TGD an article in Free Inquiry that was pretty much crap.

    “Personal message : I wonder if this comment will be ‘moderated’ just as a previous comment of mine took more than a week to appear.”

    Your previous comment had several links in it. That almost always leads to a comment getting caught by a spam filter.

  18. #18 Chris
    July 9, 2007

    Kevembuangga, I’ve argued previously that they’re like fundamentalists in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to their either-or world view, their dogmatic near deification of science and scientific reason, their vilification of those who disagree with them even on their own side (heretical “neville chamberlains”) and so on.

    J.J. Sorry if your post took a while to get out of moderation. I use gmail for comment notification, and it recently began putting MT comment notifications into the spam folder. It took me a while to discover that.

  19. #19 J. J. Ramsey
    July 10, 2007

    Chris: “J.J. Sorry if your post took a while to get out of moderation.”

    No, it was Kevembuangga’s post that got caught in moderation. I was just explaining why it got caught.

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