Thursday, October 26, 2006

This is the New Atheism?

I read the recent article in Wired on the new atheism and was both amused and surprised to see that, apparently, the "leading" atheists (whatever that means) of today conceive of themselves as leading something of an armed rebellion against religion and even of religious tolerance.  Of course, as all extremists do, they conceive of themselves as being at the forefront of societal development - the next stage of human evolution.  Clearly, they are not well-versed in history.

This kind of intolerant, belligerent and mean-spirited small-mindedness is not only common, but is the most common form of human personality disorders. The "new" atheists come armed not with new evidence, new argument or new insight into cosmology, biology or anthropology, but with extra doses of vitriole and hatred.  And they think they are leading a new movement.

These are the Michael Savages and Al Frankens of atheism - extremist fundamentalists so marginalized by even the most tolerant and open-minded of thinkers as to be irrelevant.  Their positions supported not by reason or logic, but by ad hominem attacks on their opponents, by the fact that they sell a lot of books (like Savage and Franken), and by, of all things, celebrity adherents like, get this, Penn & Teller.  Right, I'm going to take my metaphysical cues from a guy who needs a diet and a haircut and a fellow whose claim to fame is the ability to refrain from ever saying a word or doing anything productive whatsoever.

The logical and philosophical problems of atheism are great, and atheists have made little progress in addressing the challenges confronting their philosophy. Further, theism continues to make inroads into society deeper and deeper as the fading Enlightenment obsession with empiricism and substance monism fades with the rise of post-modernism.  Theism continues to face its own challenges and has much work to do, but atheism is not - and has not for some time - been a serious threat. The challenge for theism in the coming decades will be pluralism and fundamentalism within its ranks.


Scott said...

Great thoughts. But are you saying that the obese and the follicly challenged are to be dismissed when it comes to weighty matters.

If so, I need to get those hair plugs.


CJR said...

Nah, just an attempt at humor.

I've never liked entertainers who take themselves too seriously - at least outside their craft.

Now we've got Penn & Teller being held up as reputable advocates for philosophical reasoning? Gimme a break! Those guys are second-rate lounge performers.

Greg said...

Those guys are second-rate lounge performers.

You're being too kind... I'm not sure they're that good.