I read this other article on the new new atheism. A suggestion that female atheists should take the lead for atheists in order to push a more moderate and tolerant atheism.
Here’s a quote…
I heard two very different arguments at this event. The first was the old line of the New Atheists: Religious people are stupid and religion is poison, so the only way forward is to educate the idiots and flush away the poison. The second was less controversial and less utopian: From this perspective, atheism is just another point of view, deserving of constitutional protection and a fair hearing. Its goal is not a world without religion but a world in which believers and nonbelievers coexist peaceably, and atheists are respected, or at least tolerated.
And here’s a bit of demographic analysis…
“Females predominate in the overwhelming majority of religious groups in the United States, so it makes sense that males would predominate here. But XY types also dominated the rostrum, which saw a parade of white men joining John Lennon in imagining no religion.”
Perhaps this means atheism is actually bad for the survival of the species – who will all these atheists breed with? Atheism is clearly a genetic weakness. No wonder they want to propagate their ideas with evangelistic fervour. Actually, PZ Myers, the guy who killed my blog, has a post about some “science” that suggests that atheism is an undesirable genetic mutation. Cop that atheists.
“However, there must be a deeper psychological reason than short-termist hedonism why so many intelligent people have chosen the maladaptive trait of Atheism. I have recently published a theory trying to explain the phenomenon of ‘Clever Sillies’. Clever Sillies are people whose professional and expert attainments may be at the highest level, while their psychological and social beliefs and behaviours are just silly – I was thinking in particular of the prevalent lunacies of Political Correctness among the ruling elites. In essence, I argue that the root of the problem is that high intelligence often brings with it a tendency to overuse intelligence – even when ‘instinct’ is a better guide to reality.”
The guy who wrote the paper being quoted by PZ has suggested that atheism is a delusion. In that post he spells out why atheism is maladaptive…
The word ‘maladaptive’ has a strict biological sense, and also a more diffuse social meaning. In strict biological terms a maladaptive trait or behaviour is one that reduces relative reproductive success. Basically, something is maladaptive if it reduced the number of viable offspring. By this strict definition Atheism is a highly maladaptive trait, since Atheistic beliefs are associated with choosing to have reduced numbers of children: less than the 2.1 children minimum needed to replace the parents and cover premature deaths.
Back to the point about “peaceful tolerance”… oddly enough, Dawkins (who has previously described faith as the equivalent of a harmful virus) trotted out a similar line in a letter to young atheists I read on the Friendly Atheist today.
Of course we must leave people in peace to practise religion if they so choose. But the rest of us must be left in peace to live our lives without it. The religious want more and more influence over government policy and, if they succeed, our society will be the poorer: less tolerant, less equal, less just, less educated, less rational.
It seems there’s a bit of a philosophical battle raging amongst the atheists – perhaps they’ll start their own denominations.
Here’s another quote, from another Friendly Atheist post, it comes from a media release one atheist organisation wrote to describe a campaign conducted by another atheist organisation.
Last year, the Wisconsin organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), displayed a sign in the capitol rotunda which read, “Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.” Seattle Atheists shares [many] opinions with the FFRF regarding the separation of church and state, and about the harm [that] can be done in the cause of religious belief. However, we feel that the message was needlessly provocative and inappropriate for the context of the capitol rotunda.
Pushing for tolerance is all well and good. The problem is pushing for tolerance where the two sides of the issue are binarily opposed. Atheists can harangue Christians for not being prepared to consider the other side of the debate all they like. But until both sides are able to operate holding confidence in personal beliefs in tension with the possibility that the other guys might be right we’re not going to get any closer to this peaceful coexistence.
I’m more and more convinced that’s the key. I’m pretty certain God is there, but I should afford atheists the right to live as though he’s not, and that should cut both ways. Atheists should be prepared to acknowledge that the other guys might be right – despite their interpretation of the evidence.
But so long as leading public atheists trot out talking tips like the one below it’s unlikely that we’ll see that sort of admission.
“To say that God or the spiritual realm exist outside our ordinary plane of existence, and can’t be understood by reason or evidence, makes no sense. If God or the spiritual realm exist and have an effect on this world, we should be able to observe that effect. If they don’t have any effect on this world, their existence is a moot point. “
You know what Christians call the ability to observe the effects God has on the world – we call it science.