GRP you're a deist right? i'm curious how you arrived at such a belief. agnosticism makes the most sense to me because it leaves room open for discovering a deity through some means, but deism is still a positive assertion that a deity of some form exists. by what means do you defend this?
i make no attempt to defend it bc it's a personal thing. i p much believe ppl can believe whatever the fug they want so long as they're not using their beliefs to fug up grade school science or bomb poor ppl halfway around the world and instead keep it to themselves (which is of course why both religious fundamentalism and imperialist atheism piss me off so much). not everything has to be the easily defensible product of logic or critical thought; just the stuff used to exploit and oppress others imho.
to be serious, it depends to me on how "strict" an atheist you are. there are some atheists that are belligerent and annoying (a lot of the New Atheists stuff) but the overwhelming majority of even strict atheists are not at all like these people.
There are just a lot more atheists now than there used to be, so with that comes a slew of idiots, I think.
this may be true but is it bad if i continue to feel uncomfortable when im on a college campus and see someone in traditional atheist garb (pictured below)?
everyone take a moment and thank a mod. or maybe shake a mod's hand, or maybe buy that mod a beer
speaking of the mods
KT got agitated and his account was choked to death in the street. in the aftermath, some suggested that maybe he shouldn't have "resisted" (comparing this place to stormfront) and he should have instead "trusted the system" and reported the offensive posts. however, given recorded history, the justice system probably shouldn't be trusted in much the same way that we probably shouldn't trust the mods and admins to ban the posters that caused KT to blow up like he did. in our institutionally racist society, those who reinforce the social hierarchy are given the benefit of the doubt while those who challenge the status quo are harshly punished
e: maybe we need a #postingwhilewhite thread wherein we can post examples of racism that, unlike KT's "racist" posts, aren't ban worthy
black teen "going for a cop's gun" (this based entirely off of the statement made by the man who shot the teen to death) = demonic hulk hogan got what he deserved what do you expect when you go for a cop's gun
dozens of hicks point loaded weapons directly at federal agents in an armed standoff in order to protect cliven bundy's god given right to steal from the public = government overreach
the point was never that those at the forefront of the new atheist movement are representative of atheists at large but rather representative of the new atheists who prop them up; those who read and cite the writings of hitchens, harris and dawkins in furtherance of their own beliefs. an aggressive "counter" to religion doesn't necessitate tyranny, threat of nuclear war, racial profiling, or torture. however, imperialism has historically led to all of these terrible, no good, very bad thing. while it's easy to hand wave their influence with a nice neat #notallatheists, it is concerning that the most visible what i would term pop-atheist thinkers are advocating policies directly out of dick cheney's playbook. this thread concerns the melding of atheist rationalism and imperialism, as undoubtedly seen in the writings of hitchens, dawkins, and harris.
To be quite honest, my spiritualism, or lack thereof, isn't hinged on what someone else thinks or writes about their own. Is it good to take in others' opinions and views sometimes? Sure! But my inner existentialism/spiritualism battles can only truly be shaped by myself.
I guess this topic isn't really directed towards me or others who may feel the way I do, but I don't necessarily think quoting or citing someone's ideas you agree with means you agree with all of that person's ideas.
For an example on a different playing field, I am a gun rights advocate. However, I despise the NRA and most other individuals that are gun rights advocates.
Just because someone may pull in ideas from some of these New Atheists doesn't necessarily mean that they agree with the hate of Islam.
TBQH a true atheist wouldn't need someone to be their mouthpiece, and they would view all the world's religions on the same level. Since this subsection apparently doesn't, I feel like it lessens their points.
i understand what you're saying. my trepidation toward the new atheist movement stems from the understanding that the most visible and cited leaders of the movement find themselves unironically saying things ranging from "hey maybe these fascists have some good ideas after all" to "these savages necessitate 'benign' dictatorships"
new atheism in this context has less to do with their rational approach to atheism (which is obviously a very relatable characteristic to atheists who don't read harris, hitchens or dawkins) and more to do with the politicization of their views or in other words the melding of rational atheism and imperialism. as the title of the article indicates, 'new' atheism appears to be a veneer covering the same old empire. when GOP 2016 presidential candidate A says "we should profile arabs" or "we are at war with islam" or speaks glowingly of the "courageous" european fascists then naturally the liberals to which new atheism is most appealing would recoil in horror. however when harris or dawkins says it, they find themselves elevated to the forefront of 'new atheism'
other random thoughts: is calling them illiberal a form of a no-true-scotsman fallacy? or is their form of being illiberal such an anomaly that they could in no way be considered variations of a larger form?
i've seen a number of people that i know who are rabid right-wingers and extremely conservative fundamentalist christians cozying up to dawkins tweets because they rag on muslims. your enemy's enemy is your friend, i guess, but it's interesting to watch.
lastly - this is kind of a restatement of the last thing i said, but it's important to realize that no one has a moratorium on being a massive douchebag. christians get dogged on all the time in the tbox for the douchey things they do (which is understandable because in a dominant culture they're the most common presence) but atheists without humanist values are no better (and possibly much, much worse.)
it's difficult to say. on one hand i think that if you polled liberals on their stances re: torture, "benign" dictatorships, racial profiling, pre-emptive (nuclear?) war, etc then you would find that there is little support. otoh, i find that liberals are guilty of many of the same views and beliefs that they criticize right wingers for depending upon the situation, couching their support for their harmful beliefs as a "necessary evil"
imo new atheists are separated from your standard neocon primarily in their appeals to rationalism, rather than good old fashioned common sense, as well as the presence of what appears to be just the tiniest bit of guilt for what they espouse
The lesson we can learn from this is that rational thought and anti-humanism are not mutually exclusive. Anti-humanists, religious or New Atheist, are a dangerous lot, and both can be allied (ironically) and exploited for the use of tyranny. Say no to anti-humanists.
yeah i'm wondering how someone could say something like “With a few exceptions, the only public figures who have had the courage to speak honestly about the threat that Islam now poses to European societies seem to be fascists” and not pause to think that maybe they've went completely off the deep end?
this article touches on p much every criticism i've had of the 'new atheist' movement, most notably that 'new atheism' provides intellectual cover for imperialism and gross violations of human rights. i'm posting this bc it uncovers characteristics and goals shared by the right wing and liberal posters here while breaking up the monotony of "poster says racist thing and then spends pages defending himself from accusations of racism"
At face value, and by its own understanding, New Atheism is a reinvigorated incarnation of the Enlightenment scientism found in the work of thinkers like Bacon and Descartes: a critical discourse that subjects religious texts and traditions to rational scrutiny by way of empirical inquiry and defends universal reason against the forces of provincialism.
In practice, it is a crude, reductive, and highly selective critique that owes its popular and commercial success almost entirely to the “war on terror” and its utility as an intellectual instrument of imperialist geopolitics.
Whereas some earlier atheist traditions have rejected violence and championed the causes of the Left — Bertrand Russell, to take an obvious example, was both a socialist and a unilateralist — the current streak represented by Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris has variously embraced, advocated, or favorably contemplated: aggressive war, state violence, the curtailing of civil liberties, torture, and even, in the case of the latter, genocidal preemptive nuclear strikes against Arab nations.
In The End of Faith, for example, he argues: “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.” Elsewhere, he writes: “While the other major world religions have been fertile sources of intolerance, it is clear that the doctrine of Islam poses unique problems for the emergence of a global civilization.” And, while defending the Iraq War as a humane, civilizing mission: “We are not at war with terrorism. We are at war with Islam.”
While Harris’s views are undoubtedly the most strident, there is certainly overlap with Hitchens and Dawkins. In a 2007 interview, Hitchens argued: “If you ask what is wrong with Islam, it makes the same mistake as [other] religions, but it makes another mistake, which is that it’s unalterable. You notice how liberals keep saying, ‘If only Islam would have a Reformation’ – it can’t have one. It says it can’t. It’s extremely dangerous in that way.”
In addition to the blatant chauvinism of such a statement, it is not a remotely accurate historical claim and is arguably hypocritical, even on its own terms. Islamic fundamentalism — which no one, incidentally, believes to be a fiction — is insidious not because of its adherence to some ossified medieval tradition, but rather because of its eager and effective embrace of modernist dynamism.
Not to be outdone, Richard Dawkins has called Islam “the greatest force for evil today” (in the same breath, rather amusingly, as admitting he’s never bothered to read the Koran). At other times Dawkins has beeneven more vulgar, tweeting: “For me, the horror of Hitler is matched by bafflement at the ovine stupidity of his followers. Increasingly feel the same about Islamism” and inferring that then-New Statesman columnist Mehdi Hassan is unqualified to be a journalist because he is also a Muslim. Or, to take yet another example, “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”
For the New Atheists, then, all religions are equally bad — but Islam is more equally bad.
The politics of the leading New Atheist thinkers are not uniform. Dawkins opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, while Harris and Hitchens were some of its leading apologists. Harris defends torture as an ethical necessity in the “war on terror” while Hitchens, who was voluntarily subjected to waterboarding, did not. Both Hitchens and Harris have been prone to bellicose outbursts of violent, almost bloodthirsty rhetoric, which cannot be said of Dawkins.
Nevertheless, all are united by several common intellectual threads. Each espouses a binary worldview that pits a civilized, cosmopolitan, and progressive West against a barbaric, monistic, and reactionary East. Though varied in their political positions, Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins have all had very public dalliances with the Right, expressing either overt sympathy for, or enthusiastic endorsement of, some of its most vile and disreputable elements.
Each is outwardly a cultural liberal who primarily addresses liberal audiences — “respectable” to blue-state metropolitans and their equivalents elsewhere in ways Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh never could be — while embracing positions and causes that are manifestly illiberal in the commonly understood sense of the term.
Beneath its many layers of intellectual adornment — the typical New Atheist text is laden with maudlin references to Darwin, Newton, and Galileo — we find a worldview intimately familiar to anyone who has studied the language of empires past: culturally supremacist, essentializing and othering towards the foreign, equal parts patronizing and paternalistic, and legitimating of the violence committed for its own ends.
Some form of benign dictatorship will generally be necessary … But benignity is the key and if it cannot emerge from within a state, it must be imposed from without. The means of such imposition are necessarily crude: they amount to economic isolation, military intervention (whether open or covert), or some combination of both. (Harris, 2004)
Even if this weren’t the case, the sordid subtext of these remarks is confirmed by Harris’s favorable treatment of far-right figures, who speak openly of the demographic dangers posed by Muslims. In Letter to a Christian Nation, Harris makes his sympathies explicit, declaring: “With a few exceptions, the only public figures who have had the courage to speak honestly about the threat that Islam now poses to European societies seem to be fascists.”
Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins have all rejected the notion that there is anything racist about statements of this kind or the prescriptions that so often follow from them: “Muslims aren’t a race,” being by now a particularly worn phrase in the New Atheist rhetorical repertoire. Harris and Hitchens have also dismissed the term “Islamophobia” as a tool for silencing their arguments. According to the latter: “A stupid term – Islamophobia – has been put into circulation to try and suggest that a foul prejudice lurks behind any misgivings about Islam’s infallible ‘message.’”
Given that “race” is an entirely social construct, with a history that involves the systemic racialization of various national, ethnic, and religious minorities, this defense is extremely flimsy. The excessive focus on Islam as something at once monolithic and exceptionally bad, whose backwards followers need to have their rights in democratic societies suppressed and their home countries subjected to a Western-led civilizing process, cannot be called anything other than racist.
anyway the point is there are several atheists here who both consider themselves liberal and yet have no issue citing dawkins, hitchens or, most troubling, harris in defense of what the author of this essay terms "manifestly illiberal" positions. while i know cat is under a self-imposed tinderbox ban due to the amount of racism that's tolerated on this forum, i would like to hear a response from her or others who tend to look at the new atheist movement in a favorable light so that i may better understand how one could accept the words of harris and dawkins while still professing to be "liberal" or "progressive"
(for more examples of these 'new atheists' crossing over into neoconservatism and fascism, click here)
tampering with food is shitty 99.9999% of the time but there's always that 0.0001% of the time where i can simply enjoy the fact that carolinapf has unknowingly ingested way more ppls dna than he ever thought possible