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Featured New Atheists?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Policy, Jan 12, 2022 at 9:54 PM.

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  1. Policy

    Policy Active Member

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    I see a lot of people, usually theists, Bring up the New Atheist. They often try to apply the label to me, and get me to defend random things that they claim New Atheism is about. I deconverted back in the early '80s, so I don't know. Are there actually New Atheists? Are you one?
     
  2. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    I used to self-identify as an atheist while I was deconstructing my fundamentalist past. I was always a bit annoyed by some of my fellows, as they seemed less interested in understanding what was behind the religious impulse, as they were in just bashing religion (though admittedly I went through this stage as well).

    This article here explains a lot. They really aren't neo-atheists. Their old-school anti-theists. Atheists like Sartre and Camus actually had helpful insights: Reza Aslan: Sam Harris and "New Atheists" aren't new, aren't even atheists

    Excerpt from the article:

    Disenfranchised by what they viewed as an aggressively religious society, personally threatened by a spike in religious violence throughout the world, and spurred by a sense of moral outrage, a certain faction of atheists among an otherwise rational population of people who doubt or deny the existence of God reverted to an extreme and antagonistic form of anti-theism. This is the movement that came to be called New Atheism.​

    The appeal of New Atheism is that it offered non-believers a muscular and dogmatic form of atheism specifically designed to push back against muscular and dogmatic religious belief. Yet that is also, in my opinion, the main problem with New Atheism. In seeking to replace religion with secularism and faith with science, the New Atheists have, perhaps inadvertently, launched a movement with far too many similarities to the ones they so radically oppose. Indeed, while we typically associate fundamentalism with religiously zealotry, in so far as the term connotes an attempt to “impose a single truth on the plural world” – to use the definition of noted philosopher Jonathan Sacks – then there is little doubt that a similar fundamentalist mind-set has overcome many adherents of this latest iteration of anti-theism.​
     
    #2 Windwalker, Jan 12, 2022 at 10:09 PM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022 at 10:26 PM
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  3. lukethethird

    lukethethird Well-Known Member

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    People think of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens as new atheists but 3 people hardly make up a category.
     
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  4. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    I'm a middle aged atheist.

    I've heard the phrase "new atheist" before and I have no idea what it means. There was a recent thread by a Baha'i believer who posted a list of what the new atheists supposedly believed, but it was written by another Baha'i and not accurate. The arguments against belief in various Gods have been pretty consistent ver time as far as i can tell. But there has been a lot of study by science that has explained why theists believe, perhaps that's the "new" part of atheism.
     
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  5. Policy

    Policy Active Member

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    That article has an interesting mix of truth and falsehood. I agree that Harris is an antitheist. Two representative of the the falsity is that he tries to use the 'bad apple' defense for religion to make antitheism seem slavering and unreasonable., He also confuses the date that the word anti-theism was coined with when the concept first appeared in the history of philosophers.

    I am going to have to give it some thought and sift it out
     
  6. Policy

    Policy Active Member

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    I saw that thread. I would love to see an atheist challenge where the believer vetted their questions for their own bias.
     
  7. John53

    John53 Well-Known Member

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    I'm an old fat bald atheist.
     
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  8. F1fan

    F1fan Well-Known Member

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    God loves you anyway.
     
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  9. lukethethird

    lukethethird Well-Known Member

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    What I think is 'New' is social media and atheists finally having a platform and making themselves heard. Church leaders have had the ears of society for a long time, maybe opposing view points are something new to them.
     
    #9 lukethethird, Jan 12, 2022 at 11:16 PM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2022 at 11:34 PM
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  10. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Now here is an example from an atheistic organization:
    "...
    Definitions
    Atheism is the comprehensive world view of persons who are free from theism and have freed themselves of supernatural beliefs altogether. It is predicated on ancient Greek Materialism.

    Atheism involves the mental attitude that unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and the scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.

    Materialism declares that the cosmos is devoid of immanent conscious purpose; that it is governed by its own inherent, immutable, and impersonal laws; that there is no supernatural interference in human life; that humankind, finding the resources within themselves, can and must create their own destiny. It teaches that we must prize our life on earth and strive always to improve it. It holds that human beings are capable of creating a social system based on reason and justice. Materialism’s ‘faith’ is in humankind and their ability to transform the world culture by their own efforts. This is a commitment that is, in its very essence, life-asserting. It considers the struggle for progress as a moral obligation that is impossible without noble ideas that inspire us to bold, creative works. Materialism holds that our potential for good and more fulfilling cultural development is, for all practical purposes, unlimited."
    Our Vision

    That above is not New Atheism as such. It is an example of some of the features of New Atheism.
    • De Facto metaphysical naturalism or variants.
    • No need for theism/supernatural beliefs.
    • Reason and science will do the job also for morality.

    Now I am an atheist, but I am not an New Atheist. While I don't disagree with the sentiment of the quote, I disagree with how it relies on metaphysics and overdo how we can use reason and science.
     
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  11. QuestioningMind

    QuestioningMind Well-Known Member

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    After a bit of research I get the idea that the difference between a New atheist and and Old atheist is that new atheists are more willing to be outspoken about their lack of belief and the dangers they see in theism, while old atheists tend to be far more passive in their non-belief.

    I've been an atheist all my life, except for those few years before I could really formulate rational thoughts and simply accepted it without question or any real understanding. For the majority of that time I've been an old atheist, in that I basically took a live and let live attitude, thinking that if people wanted to believe in fantastical claims without evidence it was no skin off my nose. But over the years I've realized how naïve such thinking is.
    Not only is there the danger of religious people pushing their beliefs and restrictions onto secular society, even if a theist doesn't try and impose his or her beliefs onto others, there's a serious danger to viewing the belief in fantastical religious claims without verifiable evidence as a normal and acceptable practice. Once people train themselves to abandon logic and reasonable thinking in one part of their lives it becomes easier to do so in other parts of their lives.

    That's why today we have such a frightening number of people who have convinced themselves that the last election was stolen, despite the mounds of verifiable evidence to the contrary. That's how you get thousands of Q-Anon followers who blindly accept and repeat absolutely preposterous claims without even the slightest shred of evidence. Granted, not all of them identify as religious believers - just evidence that theists certainly aren't the only ones who can delude themselves - but a very significant portion of them are. Apparently if you can convince yourself that someone rose from the dead performed fabulous miracles and is waiting for you in heaven without any verifiable evidence then it's not that difficult to accept that the election was stolen, based on Trump's word alone and no absolutely no verifiable evidence.

    More and more I'm convinced that we all have to become new atheists if we are to have any hope of saving civil society. The world is splitting into two camps, those who accept facts and evidence based on tried and true methods of investigation and use them to determine wants real and what's not and those who insist that you determine the truth based on what you sincerely think and believe is true, where faith outranks facts, and facts become nothing more than a matter of opinion.

    There's a serious decision that's going to be made in the coming years. Are we going to continue to adapt and advance like we have since mankind embraced reason and rational thought, the scientific method and verifiable evidence over the ignorance and superstition that has plague societies throughout so much of history? Or are we on the verge of slipping back into a new Dark Ages where truth is determined by those who shout the loudest and carry the biggest sticks? Unless we can bring more people to our side of the ship, the whole damn thing is going to capsize and we'll all be lost.

    Scary times we live in, my friends
     
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  12. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yeah, the US is the world. All problems are the problems of the US. And your belief in philosophy as you use it has its own problems.
     
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  13. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    The word “new”, when used as a prefix to an old idea, organisation or institution, is often employed as a marketing strategy. So perhaps a “New Atheist” is in fact an old atheist, with a book to sell.
     
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  14. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I think new atheism is a term dreamed up by religionists to pigeon hole the more vocal atheist. Vocal atheist are not new but communication has become much easier.
     
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  15. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Ahhh, like new religionist... Another vocal group, yes, that makes sense
     
  16. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Well, I think differently about that. So what now?
     
  17. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    Can't be that vocal, I've never heard of them.
     
  18. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    Yeah, the world is what makes sense to you and it is just everybody else, who has to check their thinking.
     
  19. rational experiences

    rational experiences Well-Known Member

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    Humans are first in nature natural equal by environmental factors.

    Thinking was once advice for food it's gathering. Water. Storage. Housing.

    Theism natural human.

    Then take a broader look at who the athiest is now to list most of you. Against survival by being egotistically argumentative rather than natural supportive only.
     
  20. ParagonofIllumination

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    I think like a lot of labels this one gets kind of confusing. New atheists from my understanding were usually anti-religion and more likely to embrace things like humanistic values. I'm not really sure cause I know Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are put into this category but if you read the 3 of them they seem to have wildly differing views on a lot of things. I've kind of considered it one of those words like christian where the views that can be encompassed under the umbrella of christianity can be so widespread that the word has very little meaning in and of itself.
     
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