A source tells us that the reading lists of Foreign Policy mag’s annual Top 100 Global Thinkers, as printed, don’t feature the “new atheists.” No Dawkins, no Harris, one Robert Wright. Steve Pinker is #48 for “looking on the bright side” – arguing that violence has declined overtime, despite the past century. Even his most fawning reviewer had a hard time with that one.
In our experience, the new atheists tend to be favorites of people who market other people’s ideas rather than develop their own. Among marketers generally, marketing concepts rule: Once a guy gets tagged as Wow, Really Deep, even his drunken ravings are treated as insights.
Indeed, under the influence of such branding, hearers who need the opinion leaders’ approval cannot even recognize the ravings as nonsense, the way they would if boozy Uncle Pete had said them.
So how influential are they? Among a swathe of society that gets all opinion third hand, still considerably influential.
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