There has been a lot of writing lately against the New Atheists. I do not ally myself with them because I do not like the way Dawkins, Harris, or Hitchins perpetuate violent conflict (see Karl Jaspers, Philosophie Vol 2 on the limit situation of struggle). But I do think these new attacks have a lot to do with the New Atheists having some success at large in society. I welcome their success in one sense because I am no friend to any kind of subjugating superstition.
Nevertheless, I will also go further and object to the use of the term “bashing.” As a gay man–and maybe I should do more to detach myself when listening to such terminology–to hear the term “bash” generates a quick relation to “fag bashing.” I do not think that New Atheists are suffering from an actual hate crime nor are they having some form of physical violence perpetrated against them. Yes, I know, that is being a bit literal and certainly one can be “bashed” psychologically.
But if they are being “bashed,” are they being “bashed” with any more verve or violence than I have heard from the “three horsemen” against religionists?
This is why such discussions perpetuate violent conflict: they react to perceived violence with more violence: intellectual superiority, rhetorical manipulation, etc.
- Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens: New Atheists flirt with Islamophobia (salon.com)
- R.I.P. 26 February 1969: Death of Philosopher Karl Jaspers (keithwaynebrown.com)
- Whatever, Etc. 00023 (keithwaynebrown.com)
- Salon takes umbrage when atheists criticize Islam (iowntheworld.com)
- The Leisure to be Your Own Self (keithwaynebrown.com)
Christ has risen, and so has the bile of Nathan Lean, author of a particularly nasty bit of atheist-bashing in Salon, “Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens: New Atheist flirt with Islamophobia.” It’s so over the top that it made me wonder about the guy who wrote it. Lean, it turns out, is a graduate student at Georgetown University, editor-in-chief of a group called Aslan Media, a “militant” opponent of Israel, and author of the following book (note the endorsement):
After reading several of these tirades this week, all very similar, I’m wondering about the reason behind the recent spate of attacks on New Atheists (NAs).
The main reason, I think, is their success. Despite arguments that the efforts of people like Dennett, Harris, Hitchens and Dawkins have failed, new books and articles attacking them continue to appear. If New Atheism is such a failure, why do so many people…
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