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Saving atheism from Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?

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Alternet to the rescue! (We didn’t know it was this bad, by the way):

We Can Save Atheism From the New Atheists Like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris

There must be another way for nonbelievers than to transform into toxic know-it-alls.

As a philosophical tendency, the New Atheists were popularisers rather than innovators, using advances in biology and neuroscience to illustrate pretty well-worn arguments against religion. Indeed, in some crucial ways, they represent an intellectual step backward from a left that had recognised atheism as necessary but scarcely sufficient.

As early as 1842, Marx dismissed those who trumpeted their disbelief to children as “assuring everyone who is ready to listen to them that they are not afraid of the bogeyman”. For him, intellectual disproofs of God were trivial; what mattered was building a world that didn’t give rise to mystification of any kind.

That is, if you investigate the material basis of religious belief, you immediately confront a phenomenon that operates on many different levels. In particular circumstances and particular settings a faith may function as a guide to morality, or an aesthetic, or a social network, or a collection of cultural practices, or a political identity, or a historical tradition, or some combination of any or all of those things.

You don’t have to be a believer to see that religion genuinely offers something to its adherents (often when nothing else is available) and that what it provides is neither inconsequential nor silly.

By contrast, the New Atheists engage with religion purely as a set of ideas, a kind of cosmic rulebook for believers. … More.

Long may they rant. It gets better all the time. There is no message except that there is no message.

And in practice, people whose behaviour is not governed by religion increasingly find their behaviour governed by…government. Well, in most cases they chose it and voted for it, right? Pity only those who didn’t.

See also: Why Dawkins should have listened to the philosophers. Who often know something about logical reasoning

Note: News posting will be light today due to O’Leary for News’ alternate day job.
See also: What can we hope to learn about animal minds?

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7 Replies to “Saving atheism from Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?

  1. 1

    It seems they didn’t understand that atheism has no Kumbaya appeal. Any established church of atheism is going to have fierce schisms. It’s the nature of the beast.

    Harris’ “moral philosophy” is not up to the task of uniting factions that reject the very basis for moral philosophy.

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    News,
    English is not my first language.
    I see this statement quoted in your OP:

    There must be another way for nonbelievers than to transform into toxic know-it-alls.

    nonbelievers ?

    What do they mean by nonbelievers ?

    nonbelievers in what?

    Aren’t atheists believers? Don’t they believe that there’s no God?

    Then who in the world are the nonbelievers ?

    Anybody out there who can explain this?

    Thank you.

  3. 3

    D

    I think they’re either believers in non-belief or non-believers in belief. Take your pick.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    CannuckianYankee,

    Interesting comments @1. Thank you.

    We can’t tell who is going to be touched forever by the True Light of Life. Only God knows that.

    I know a guy who was a lost case, but eventually got graciously rescued from the bottom of the eternal abyss.

    He met his wife in college. She was a traditionally catholic(very sweet, smart and pretty) young lady. She impressed him so much, that somehow she managed to change him from strongly brainwashed rabid atheist to clueless (oblivious) agnostic. 🙂

    Years later Christ did another hallelujah miracle. The guy, who was spiritually lost, was found. The guy, who was spiritually blind, got sight. Amazing grace.

    Looking back the guy sees how God used his wife very skillfully (what else is new?).

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    CannuckianYankee @3

    🙂

  6. 6
    bornagain says:

    OT:

    In Shadow of Oz, (former atheist) Biologist Wayne Rossiter Critiques Theistic Evolution – Casey Luskin – December 6, 2015
    Excerpt: The title is a reference to The Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy is told that you can never see the “Wizard” and so she reasonably asks, “Well, then — how do you know there is one?” By analogy, Rossiter argues that theistic evolution gives no reasons to believe there is a God guiding nature. In his view, intelligent design offers a much more satisfying approach.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01421.html

  7. 7
    bb says:

    And in practice, people whose behaviour is not governed by religion increasingly find their behaviour governed by…government.

    Both Solomon and Hobbes saw the need for more government to restrain the behavior resulting from a Godless society. The difference was Hobbes thought social chaos was a natural state.

    Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes;

    Proverbs 28:2

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