Thursday, September 20, 2012

What does the 'new' in 'new atheism' really mean?

What does the 'new' in 'new atheism' really mean? | Lois Lee | Comment is free |
We can get so waylaid in debates about what new atheism means, that we fail to notice what is the real problem with the "new" in "new atheism", namely that it suggests that this particular branch of contemporary atheist culture as the only one, that it is simply the most recent manifestation in a linear and one-track intellectual tradition. Instead, the emergence of new atheism seems far more about a moment of devolution rather than evolution: it should make clear the ways in which atheist cultures are proliferating and distinguishing themselves from one other. It should make clear that non-religion has its own denominations
What I see as the "new" part of the New Atheist movement is its adherents' eagerness to convert others, especially religious believers, into atheists, too. That is, the new part of New Atheism is not is atheism, for which they offer arguments that are neither new nor very compelling. It is their - dare I say it - evangelical zeal to make converts. (Richard Dawkins, for example, has said this explicitly.)

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