Richard Dawkins has lost: meet the new new atheists

S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
Richard Dawkins has lost: meet the new new atheists

And liberal punditry has softened. Polly Toynbee’s younger sisters, so to speak, are wary of seeing all of religion as a misogynist plot. When Zoe Williams attacks religious sexism or homophobia she resists the temptation to widen the attack and imply that all believers are dunces or traitors. Likewise Tanya Gold recently ridiculed the idea of religion as a force for evil. ‘The idea of my late church-going mother-in-law beating homosexuals or instituting a pogrom is obviously ridiculous, although she did help with jumble sales and occasionally church flowers.’

All these writers admirably refuse to lapse into a comfortably sweeping ideology that claims the moral high ground for unbelief. Life’s complicated, they admit. Institutional religion might be dubious, but plenty of its servants buck that trend with a flair that puts secular culture to shame. To adapt a Katharine Hepburn line, the time to make up your mind about religion is never.
 
#2
It won't come as any surprise that I could never understand Dawkins' attraction. He brought C19th pomposity and Victorian fundamentalist zeal to nuanced C21st questions. How he gathered so many otherwise intelligent acolytes is impossible to imagine. There were times when to criticise RD on any internet forum was to instigate a witch hunt. If that phase of scientistic bigotry is over, thank God.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
I think, at least in the public sphere, the fundamentalist skeptics are left with nowhere to turn but trolling the internet.

Google has invited speakers like Sheldrake, Ron Garret, and Penrose/Hammeroff to present ideas that are ultimately advocating Dualism, Panpsychism, or Idealism.

Tyson's attempts to slur religion in the latest Cosmos program was met with derision not just from Christians but mainstream media reviews. The fact his program is dismal in ratings probably won't go unnoticed.

You still see the funny-sad articles where skeptics urge each other to use things like Thanksgiving prayer or a post-sneeze "God Bless You" as a teachable moment to sell their agenda but most agree that's just obnoxious.
 
#4
I think, at least in the public sphere, the fundamentalist skeptics are left with nowhere to turn but trolling the internet.

Google has invited speakers like Sheldrake, Ron Garret, and Penrose/Hammeroff to present ideas that are ultimately advocating Dualism, Panpsychism, or Idealism.

Tyson's attempts to slur religion in the latest Cosmos program was met with derision not just from Christians but mainstream media reviews. The fact his program is dismal in ratings probably won't go unnoticed.

You still see the funny-sad articles where skeptics urge each other to use things like Thanksgiving prayer or a post-sneeze "God Bless You" as a teachable moment to sell their agenda but most agree that's just obnoxious.
Wow, that's very optimistic, I see little change happening at all.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#5
Wow, that's very optimistic, I see little change happening at all.
Really? I think most people are sick of New Atheism. Now by no means does this necessarily mean there will be increased research into the paranormal, which in turn means no smoking gun for all the topics the podcast discusses.

That said, culturally I think there will be less New Atheists and more "Spiritual but Not Religious" young people tuning into sites like Reality Sandwich and Aeon.
 
#11
I note that article was posted a year ago. I've seen no evidence online of anything other than a loudening of the worst kinds of anti-religion. Sadly, the vitriolic anti-religious movement that fomented in the wake of 9/11 is not just going to go away quietly. It might dissipate slowly over decades but the momentum is still strong and I think it will require either a generational change of the guard or a significant event (of what kind, I know not) to change the direction of the tide. I don't share the writer's optimism. And I'm not religious.
 
#12
Perhaps I am the only 'proponent' on this forum who actually liked Dawkins' "The God Delusion"! Probably because in that book he isn't discussing the nature of reality (where I think he is utterly naive), but just pointing out the actual contents of the Bible!

Isn't it possible that religion needs to change by recognising some restrictions on what should even be called religion. Of course people feel disgusted by mindless violence committed in the name of any religion - that isn't the fault of any anti-religious movement.

David
 
#14
Perhaps I am the only 'proponent' on this forum who actually liked Dawkins' "The God Delusion"! Probably because in that book he isn't discussing the nature of reality (where I think he is utterly naive), but just pointing out the actual contents of the Bible!

Isn't it possible that religion needs to change by recognising some restrictions on what should even be called religion. Of course people feel disgusted by mindless violence committed in the name of any religion - that isn't the fault of any anti-religious movement.

David
"Isn't it possible that religion needs to change by recognising some restrictions on what should even be called religion."

Certainly but I think in some religions it's very unlikely to happen. We seem to going backwards in some cases :) but I can't go there because it's just pointless to offend when it won't change anything.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#15
This is a bit overstated. Did you watch the episode in question?
Yeah, but I wasn't just going by my opinion. I'd collected reviews critical of it but they got eaten in the Forum Apocalypse.

Isn't it possible that religion needs to change by recognising some restrictions on what should even be called religion. Of course people feel disgusted by mindless violence committed in the name of any religion - that isn't the fault of any anti-religious movement.
I think people's disgust is a visceral moral reaction against ideologies that somehow twist the immoral into the moral. The skeptical fundamentalists have tried to limit this to religious thinking but it seems to me most critiques can be leveled at any ideology taken past a breaking point.

That said, I think anyone who is hoping to have their scriptures confirmed is likely to be disappointed. Even the notion that "God is Love" might be inaccurate, though there are reasons to hold this idea above other commandments and descriptions of the Other.
 
#16
Yeah, but I wasn't just going by my opinion. I'd collected reviews critical of it but they got eaten in the Forum Apocalypse.
Forum apocalypse was/is the worst. I hope it ends soon. :)

On Cosmos, I only asked because I noticed a lot of people weighing in on it without having actually watched the episode(s). I'd like to know specifically where and how Tyson is slurring religion in your opinion (in Cosmos) when you have a moment.
 
#17
I think people's disgust is a visceral moral reaction against ideologies that somehow twist the immoral into the moral. The skeptical fundamentalists have tried to limit this to religious thinking but it seems to me most critiques can be leveled at any ideology taken past a breaking point.
Religion isn't the only ideology that twists the immoral into the moral - I agree - but at the very least, the extreme religious ideologies seem to last longer than the secular equivalents. I think a lot of it is that people have to realise that any supreme being has to share himself among everyone on earth (and maybe elsewhere), and that includes people of different sexualities, sexual customs, and even beliefs! He can't just be for the ones who believe! That indeed seems to be the message from NDE's.
That said, I think anyone who is hoping to have their scriptures confirmed is likely to be disappointed. Even the notion that "God is Love" might be inaccurate, though there are reasons to hold this idea above other commandments and descriptions of the Other.
Well yes - we need to pay more heed to evidence and less to doctrines that have, in fact, been hammered in a highly political way over the centuries.

David
 
#18
This is a bit overstated. Did you watch the episode in question?
I did. It was a terrible episode. Tyson spent a disproportionate amount of time on the evils of the church for persecuting someone who, as admitted by the series host, "had no evidence upon which to base his opinions" and had just made a "lucky guess". Apparently, it's OK for scientists to treat someone badly for proposing new world views based on precognitive dreams rather than evidence, but the church isn't given that same privilege.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#19
I did. It was a terrible episode. Tyson spent a disproportionate amount of time on the evils of the church for persecuting someone who, as admitted by the series host, "had no evidence upon which to base his opinions" and had just made a "lucky guess". Apparently, it's OK for scientists to treat someone badly for proposing new world views based on precognitive dreams rather than evidence, but the church isn't given that same privilege.
My understanding is that Bruno wasn't necessarily persecuted for his views about the universe either. A few people have noted Tyson gets his history wrong. Not to mention that I'm pretty sure the Hindus had already posited infinite universes with infinite planets.

Perhaps if Tyson hadn't been so eager to bash religion he might have filled that spot with something that could reverse the dismal ratings COSMOS is getting.

=-=-=

Good news about the "spiritual but not religious"

...After spending more than five years speaking with hundreds of “spiritual but not religious” folk across North America, I’ve come to see a certain set of core ideas among them. Because of their common themes, I think it’s fair to refer to them by the acronym: SBNR.

But before we explore what the SBNRs believe, we first need to learn what they protest.

First, they protest “scientism.”
...
Second, SBNRs protest “secularism.”
...
Third, yes, they protest religion – at least, two types of it.

...
Finally, SBNRs need to give up the easy ideology that says religion is unnecessary, all the same, or outmoded. And all of us should discard the unworkable idea that you must find a spiritual or religious group with which you totally agree. Even if such a group could be found, chances are it would soon become quite boring.

There’s no getting around this fact: It is hard work to nurture the life of faith. The road is narrow and sometimes bumpy. It is essential to have others along with us on the journey.

All of us, not just religious people, are in danger of becoming rigid or comatose, inflexible or numb. All of us need to find ways to develop and live our faith in the company of others, which is, in fact, what religion is all about.
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/22/good-news-about-the-spiritual-but-not-religious/?iref=obnetwork

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/22/good-news-about-the-spiritual-but-not-religious/?iref=obnetwork
 
Top