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New Atheists and Neuroatheists

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UD blogger Denyse O’Leary just coined a term on her cognitive science blog (The Mindfulhack): “neuroatheists.” It’s a good term and precisely describes a significant segment of the new atheists. Here’s where she introduces the term:


The list of “influential atheists” that inspired the term “neuroatheism” has some interesting non-neuroatheists. Have a look (see any familiar faces?):


Steve Fuller at 4, Did I say anything about Kurzweil? I always thought him too large a pill to swallow, and didn't try hard. All good things to Jennifer Hecht for confronting a fact about atheism's influence in the modern era: Industrialized mass murder comes to mind. Currently, the US Big Hair broadcasts are in something of a tizzy about the Arizona shooting spree, and into banning thoughts, feelings, words. Funny they should pay so much attention to a local tragedy and so little to an easily confirmed trend. But then the hairdresser and makeup artist approach, and all thought is puffed away. If my readers have qualms about neuroatheism, wait till you get to neurobullshipping. I definitely coined that term, while treading water in seas of total nonsense. Mario Beauregard, my neuroscientist lead author on The Spiritual Brain, had never heard it before, but said it was good enough for a lot of stuff rolling through the puffball media. Many neuroscientists - I rush to their defense - deal in serious issues, and stick closely to medicine, wherein one finds no shortage of same. I wish there were more scanners in hospitals and fewer in nonsense factories. O'Leary
An interesting list, which seems to presuppose a pretty generous view of what it means to support atheism. Ray Kurzweil's (#21) attempt to reinvent Christianity as applied artificial intelligence counts as 'atheism'? You might count it as heresy, blasphemy, insanity -- but atheism??? Also, Jennifer Michael Hecht (#15) has written an excellent book on how a strong sense of atheism amongst Darwin's followers in the late 19th century France had disastrous personal and intellectual consequences. See http://www.amazon.co.uk/End-Soul-Scientific-Modernity-Anthropology/dp/0231128479/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1294936775&sr=1-4 Steve Fuller
"Is it rejection of the mind as being separate from the brain?" Did you read the blog post? I would assume that this is the case, since most atheists deny that the human mind (with its dreams and thoughts and ideas) is anything more than chemicals reacting to one another. Barb
This is an excellent point for the entire edifice of these neuroatheists is a desperate attempt to explain things away. All this amounts to anti-intellectualisms and logical fallacies. But when did atheists ever produce anything more than that when trying to attack others? above
what is the meaning of the term "neuroatheist"? I'm afraid Ms. O'Leary is not clear about it in her post. Is it rejection of the mind as being separate from the brain? paragwinn

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