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Woke atheist rejects the New Atheists — not Woke enough


We missed this one back in June. In the Wokest of venues, intellectual cannibalism:

New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what’s right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity.

Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was! Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized. This may sound hyperbolic, but it’s not when, well, you look at the evidence. So I thought it might be illuminating to take a look at where some of the heavy hitters in the atheist and “skeptic” communities are today. What do their legacies look like? In what direction have they taken their cultural quest to secularize the world?

Phil Torres, “Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right” at Salon (June 5, 2021)
Forthcoming. Foreword by Dr. Paul Ehrlich.
Routledge Studies in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Phil Torres is supposed to be somebody in atheism. He goes after a bunch of people you’ve heard of, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Larry Krauss, Richard Dawkins, James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, David Silverman, Steven Pinker

Well, Torres is probably not on their Santa list either. Did he miss anybody? Maybe…

This is hardly an exhaustive list. But it’s enough to make clear the epistemic and moral turpitude of this crowd. There is nothing ad hominem in saying this, by the way: The point is simply that the company one keeps matters. What’s sad is that the New Atheist movement could have made a difference — a positive difference — in the world. Instead, it gradually merged with factions of the alt-right to become what former New York Times contributing editor Bari Weiss calls the “Intellectual Dark Web” (IDW), a motley crew of pseudo-intellectuals whose luminaries include Jordan Peterson, Eric and Bret Weinstein, Douglas MurrayDave Rubin and Ben Shapiro, in addition to those mentioned above.

Phil Torres, “Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right” at Salon (June 5, 2021)

Take in for a moment that the editors of an allegedly serious publication actually sponsored an article claiming that all of these prominent atheists have “merged with the far right.” Remember that the next time someone starts caterwauling about the need to suppress conspiracy theories. We can direct them to Salon’s website for their best convenience…

Something’s obviously happening in the world of the godlessness that failed — or some people with a platform need the rest of us to believe so.

Hat tip: The Stream

@KF People are much more stupid than you think they are. The cause of systematic evil like socialism, is just rejection of the entire subjective part of reality, especially rejection of people's emotions, for the reason that what is subjective is not objective. People are just total morons. Hey I cannot measure the love, therefore it is not real. Or, love is real, and therefore measurable. People just want to objectify everything. And you yourself have not accepted the validity of subjectivity, the subjective part of reality. You are just meaninglessly repeating the word subjectivity a few times, without explaining the logic of subjectivity, and then you are back to science, objectivity and fact again. Subjectivity means that the spirit makes decisions, and the spirit is identified with a chosen opinion. Subjectivity is not about that word subjectivity, it is about that logic. And all good policy is in respect to the spirit, like for instance in respect to happiness. Once you throw out subjective things like happiness, or make happiness objective, then, ofcourse the policy would be a total fucking catastrophy. My explanations make perfect sense of things. Makes sense of communism and nazism, socialism in general, and why they would fail. mohammadnursyamsu
PS: Where one would have sat in a hypothetical assembly 200 years ago is almost irrelevant; the issue is, breakdown of the BATNA of lawfulness through undermining key cultural buttresses, which is anti civilisational. Those buttresses enable constitutional democracy with lawful freedom and if a critical mass of support is lost, the slide into lawless oligarchy will follow. May, be beginning, in fact. kairosfocus
Phil Torres sounds like a fascist is sheep's clothing. KRock
MNY, Fascism and Communism are kissing cousins, very close. fascism strikes deals and compacts with cartels etc, turning capitalists into state pensioners, Hugo Junkers is case study A on what happens if you -- here, a pacifist -- don't toe the line. Another key in fascism is the nietzschean superman, above law political messiah in the face of allegedly unprecedented threats to the core group often tied to nationality. When marxists escape someone like a Stalin they talk about personality cults. The relevant commonality is lawless ideological oligarchy leading to totalitarian domination. The escape from that is very hard. KF kairosfocus
@KF So basically you have no explanation about China moving from left to right wing socialism, in the last decades. That is meaningful defense knowledge, for understanding China policy, and psychology. The succes of the US constitution is because of general free speech, article 1. You tend to encroach on free speech with your rules of warrant. You didn't do your duties of warranting, then you go to prison. If the creationist conceptual scheme were entered as an article 0 to the US constitution, it would only define terms like choice, opinion and fact. That would destroy materialism / atheism / socialism, because they generally all depend on rejection of the concept of personal opinion. mohammadnursyamsu
MNY, you have overlooked the fact that the framework that acknowledges built-in law "baked into" our morally governed nature actually made a huge contribution to the creation of modern liberty in a lawful, constitutionally democratic state. The first duties are summary, they are fleshed out into law with the relationship between the US DoI and Constitution, with the line of thought down to Locke, Blackstone et al, as obvious exhibit A. Similarly, justice being due balance of rights, freedoms and duties allows us to understand that to justly claim a right we must manifestly be in the right as it cannot be right to compel another creature of like nature -- neighbour -- to taint sound conscience (eg by forced lying such as is now common) and untruth . . . thus also bad reason . . . is the notorious foundation of injustice, and much more; the etc is a strategic pointer to huge elaboration. The first duties are roughly comparable to axiomatisation. KF kairosfocus
FE, that's what happens when first duties of reason are abandoned: truth, right reason, warrant and wider prudence, sound conscience, neighbour, so too fairness and justice, etc. Ironically, the article at Salon is at the same time full of such appeals. KF kairosfocus
This piece reads like satire, it is so far from any reasonable reality. Fasteddious
Sorry, I didn't mean to derail the thread by using the word "fascism." I just meant that the "woke" reflexively assign those atheists who commit transgressions a place on the political right. I don't agree at all with their conclusion, but am amused and frustrated with their poverty of thought. OldArmy94
MNY, Socialism for ~ 150 years has defined the left wing. KF kairosfocus
@KF Still just the same vacuous do-goodery. Much as like google saying don't be evil, you say be fair, just and truthful. Turns out Google with their do-goodery is a socialist company. Because they, like you, deny the subjective spirit making choices. Your theory of warrant is a theory to marginalize emotions, and all what is subjective. Marginalize both the human spirit, and God the holy spirit. You are not saying be truthful, fair and honest, so help you God, you are saying follow these instructions of warranting, and then you will be truthful, fair and honest as a result. To be honest, it is a moral effort. It requires to muster up some emotions to deal with facts that I don't like to be true. Instead what you advise is to generally kill off emotions, so that there are no facts that you would like or dislike to be true. And in this emotionless neutrality, one would then arrive at truth in a bureaucratic way, by following the rules of warranting. But this emotionless neutrality is an illusion, and it basically just means oppressed emotions ruling behind the scenes. Which emotions have turned vile and meanspirited, because of the oppression. Only what is subjective can do the job of making a decision. What is objective is only ever chosen, and never does any choosing whatsoever. mohammadnursyamsu
Fascism and nazism are right wing socialism. Socialism is the political application of materialism, and then you get left wing and right wing socialism, communism and nazism. As for example, in the last decades China moved from left wing socialism to right wing socialism. Now China is more a nazi regime, with far reaching eugenics legislation and culture, and genocidal policies of Tibetans and Uygur. mohammadnursyamsu
Anyone socialists disagrees with are called names to disparage them with no depth to the name calling. There is nothing accurate about accusations made in present or historical context. Mussolini was a devout follower of Communist, Nietzsche, and ruled as Italy with the idea that good and evil no longer mattered. Father Coughlin is referred today as a right winger, even though he believed Roosevelt was not going far enough to the left. Roosevelt's refusal to nationalize everything, especially the banks, was what led to his ending support for Roosevelt. BobRyan
PS: As the inevitability of moral government here surfaces, I clip a summary argument on first duties of right reason:
We may readily identify at least seven inescapable . . . first duties of reason: "Inescapable," as they are so antecedent to reasoning that even the objector implicitly appeals to their legitimate authority; inescapable, so first truths of reason, i.e. they are self-evidently true and binding. Namely, Ciceronian first duties,
1st - to truth, 2nd - to right reason, 3rd - to prudence [including warrant], 4th - to sound conscience, 5th - to neighbour; so also, 6th - to fairness and 7th - to justice [ . . .] xth - etc.
Likewise, we observe again, that objectors to such duties cannot but appeal to them to give their objections rhetorical traction (i.e. s/he must imply or acknowledge what we are, morally governed, duty-bound creatures to gain any persuasive effect). While also those who try to prove such cannot but appeal to the said principles too. So, these principles are a branch on which we all must sit, including objectors and those who imagine they are to be proved and try. That is, these are manifestly first principles of rational, responsible, honest, conscience guided liberty and so too a built-in framework of law; yes, core natural law of human nature. Reason, inescapably, is morally governed. Of course, there is a linked but not equivalent pattern: bounded, error-prone rationality often tied to ill will and stubbornness or even closed mindedness; that’s why the study of right reason has a sub-study on fallacies and errors. That we sometimes seek to evade duties or may make inadvertent errors does not overthrow such first duties of reason, which instead help us to detect and correct errors, as well as to expose our follies. Perhaps, a negative form will help to clarify, for cause we find to be at best hopelessly error-riddled, those who are habitually untruthful, fallacious and/or irrational, imprudent, fail to soundly warrant claims, show a benumbed or dead conscience [i.e. sociopathy and/or highly machiavellian tendencies], dehumanise and abuse others, are unfair and unjust. At worst, such are utterly dangerous, destructive,or even ruthlessly, demonically lawless. Such built-in . . . thus, universal . . . law, then, is not invented by parliaments, kings or courts, nor can these principles and duties be abolished by such; they are recognised, often implicitly as an indelible part of our evident nature. Hence, "natural law," coeval with our humanity, famously phrased in terms of "self-evident . . . rights . . . endowed by our Creator" in the US Declaration of Independence, 1776. (Cf. Cicero in De Legibus, c. 50 BC.) Indeed, it is on this framework that we can set out to soundly understand and duly balance rights, freedoms and duties; which is justice, the pivot of law. The legitimate main task of government, then, is to uphold and defend the civil peace of justice through sound community order reflecting the built in, intelligible law of our nature. Where, as my right implies your duty a true right is a binding moral claim to be respected in life, liberty, honestly aquired property, innocent reputation etc. To so justly claim a right, one must therefore demonstrably be in the right. Likewise, Aristotle long since anticipated Pilate's cynical "what is truth?": truth says of what is, that it is; and of what is not, that it is not. [Metaphysics, 1011b, C4 BC.] Simple in concept, but hard to establish on the ground; hence -- in key part -- the duties to right reason, prudence, fairness etc. Thus, too, we may compose sound civil law informed by that built-in law of our responsibly, rationally free morally governed nature; from such, we may identify what is unsound or false thus to be reformed or replaced even though enacted under the colour and solemn ceremonies of law. The first duties, also, are a framework for understanding and articulating the corpus of built-in law of our morally governed nature, antecedent to civil laws and manifest our roots in the Supreme Law-giver, the inherently good, utterly wise and just creator-God, the necessary (so, eternal), maximally great being at the root of reality.
OA94, accusations of fascism being of the right are ill-founded. Insofar as right has any clear definition, much less centre; once Monarchy was discredited after WW1, the historic right of the Speaker as position of honour with degree of leftward drift into increasingly radical position, was no longer relevant. There is need to abandon as outdated the common political spectrum rooted in 200+ year old legislature seating traditions and instead examine a far better historically justified framework: autocracy > lawless oligarchy > lawful oligarchy > constitutional democracy > minimal state > anarchy and/or state of nature. Both fascism and its kissing cousins the family of specific marxisms are open doors to lawless ideological oligarchy and lawless political messianism often termed personality cults in a marxian context. We even have a Communist Dynasty of obvious monarchs in North Korea; the founder figure being subject of idolatrous veneration. On the subject of modernised village atheism with Internet boost, aka new atheism, it fizzled because of its patent injudiciousness. As for the self-congratulations on moral clarity and honesty of mind etc, such point instead to a failure to see oneself clearly and further failure to address the logic of being import of our being inescapably under moral government through known first duties. Namely, that in the root of reality where there is a world with such morally governed creatures as we are, the is-ought gap must be bridged. Where, such a bridge, post Hume, can only be in the root of reality, on pain of unresolved is-ought gap. There is precisely one serious candidate; if you doubt, provide another that bridges and grounds moral government without falling into gaps, incoherence, absurdity. Namely, the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being (thus possessing good attributes and appropriate powers to maximum compossible degree, also, eternal and the source of worlds). One, worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature. KF kairosfocus
"Merged with the Far Right?" That's everybody's favorite bogeyman; don't like what someone is saying, accuse them of being a fascist. This Torres guy sounds like a typical NPC drone who has no independent thinking in his entire body. OldArmy94
>"willing to stand up for what’s right and true" Obvious to us of course, but the New Atheists had/have no foundation for morality. And then he goes on to point out morally bankrupt they were--again assuming some sort of objective foundation for morality. Nice job there! EDTA

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