What the cited study seems to be showing, is that when Americans hear “atheist” they tend to think only of outspoken atheists rather that the vast majority who keep their views on religion to themselves
He is doubtless right.
Indeed, Darwinian philosopher (he calls himself that) Michael Ruse once wrote Richard Dawkins an irritated letter, pointing out the damage that new atheist trolls were doing to the cause. Of course – except for fatuous Christian Darwinists pointing gleefully to that letter as evidence for something or other that supports them – crickets chirped. That’s because the establishment generally supports the troll but refrains from saying so. The recent Dawkins-Paxman episode on Brit Tax TV demonstrated the matter with no room for reasonable or honest doubt.
Most viewers today are helpless to do anything except judge the participants as they ought to be judged – or fail to do so because the establishment supports trolldom.
Or take a look at Dawkins and Coyne’s tasteless grousing about Lynn Margulis’s obituary. Most people won’t read that but many see and hear things done and said by the outspoken “new atheists” that leave no doubt whatever about what sort of society they aim for.
It’s very similar, really, to the situation experienced by Muslims: Most Muslims we know are good citizens and reasonable people. Then there are the human hate machines belching away in some mosques. Telling the rest of us to quit thinking that all Muslims are human hate machines is merely an insult, intended by craven bureaucrats and politicians to delay grappling with a serious problem: They hope to retire before confronting the hate machines, no matter who gets hurt in the process. And many people have been hurt.
And the rest of us know. And are increasingly indifferent to insults from willing collaborators in government, religion, and media.
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