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Atheist public intellectual John Gray separates the atheist wheat from the chaff

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Presumably, he knows the field. From a review of his book, Seven Types of Atheism:

This book should put to rest the canard that atheism is free thinking, and oh so much more broad-minded and gentle than what is on offer from the dull and cramped-spirited God-fearing types. Gray thinks theism ill-conceived, but he does not think it has anything like the distasteful character of most atheism.

Gray reserves special scorn for those he terms“the Enlightenment Evangelists,” a camp that stands for the proposition that human nature freed from religious belief gives us benevolent liberalism. One of his seven types of atheism, Enlightenment Evangelism is represented by the likes of Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Typical of this position is the oft-repeated claim that but for the obscurantism of religion, reason would prevail and a sort of John Lennonesque humanistic utopia, knowing neither gods nor borders, would prevail.Graham McAleer, “John Gray Separates the Atheist Wheat from the Chaff” at Law & Liberty

Actually, it’s amazing the number of regimes that made a big to-do about atheism that have ended in mass murder. It would be an interesting project for someone to study whether acknowledging God in a constitution functions as a sort of insurance policy against really high death tolls. It’s an arguable point.

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See also: (but not to be taken altogether seriously, in case you wondered): Neuroskeptic: Atheists are NOT genetically damaged

Of course, the claim is nonsense but then those of us who have listened to rubbish about the God gene and such can’t help hiding a giggle. Hey, given that it’s Hate Your Local Atheist Week anyway, how about “Atheists have mutant genes, don’t live as long

and

There’s a gene for that… or is there?

4 Replies to “Atheist public intellectual John Gray separates the atheist wheat from the chaff

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    It’s funny how quickly those types of atheists will immediately say that it was communism that caused the tragedies in Russia under Joseph Stalin’s rule and the same with Mao and Pol Pot. There really is a big difference to I guess it would be no different then the other extreme with the crazy religious fundamentalists that everybody seems to think that all religious people happen to be. They’re just one side of the same coin.

    I know I’ve been posting this a bit I’ve noticed I can’t seem to find a contact button for uncommon discent now, But for those concerned with free will especially within the site I think this is worth looking into

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/philosophers-and-neuroscientists-join-forces-see-whether-science-can-solve-mystery-free

    It’s both refreshing and worrisome I am worried about what they will find if it doesn’t support conscious free well at the same time There seems to be an initiative to wash the anti-free will science from science which I really hope that is what they eventually will aim for

    But if I find anything else like this I would like to be able to send it to you I just don’t know how my Facebook wasn’t working when I was trying to post it to UD And I apologize for posting it here

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    People have committed atrocities in the name of both atheist ideologies and religious beliefs. The problem seems to be not so much in the nature of the belief systems as in the propensity of some people to feel justified in committing the most appalling acts in furtherance of their chosen “truth”. You can cite the atheist communist regimes of the 20th century and you can cite the anti-Semitism endemic throughout Europe for centuries and epitomized in Martin Luther’s On The Jews And Their Lies. Neither atheism nor religion are guarantors of reason, or benevolence or tolerance. All they seem to do is amplify both the best and the worst of human impulses.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Neither atheism nor religion are guarantors of reason, or benevolence or tolerance.

    True, but only religion offers a path to reason, benevolence and tolerance.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    John Gray criticizing new atheism? Really???,,, In his 2002 book Straw Dogs, John Gray himself claimed that “human life has no more meaning than that of slime mould.”

    “human life has no more meaning than that of slime mould.”
    John Gray – Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals – page 33 – 2002
    https://books.google.com/books?id=0GGyCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA33

    You Chemical Scum, You – Prof. Raymond Tallis – 2012
    Excerpt: Significant Insignificances
    Voltaire got things off to a jolly secular start quite a while back, by instructing the eponymous hero of his novel Zadig (1747) to visualise “men as they really are, insects devouring one another on a little atom of mud.” ,,,
    Voltaire did not consider himself merely an insect, any more than Gray considers slime mould his peer, or Hawking regards Hawking as a quantum of chemical scum.
    https://philosophynow.org/issues/89/You_Chemical_Scum_You

    On page 34 of his book Straw Dogs, Gray goes on to state that,

    “”Heaven and Earth are ruthless and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs.” If humans disturb the balance of the earth they will be trampled on and tossed aside.”

    Thus Gray may have special scorn for the militant atheism of Richard Dawkins, (and other ‘new’ atheists), but the fundamental claim of Gray’s philosophy that “Heaven and Earth are ruthless” is basically exactly the same as the fundamental claim of Dawkins’ philosophy which holds that “The universe,, (is),,nothing but blind, pitiless indifference”.

    “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
    Dawkins, Richard. 1995. River Out of Eden. New York: Basic Books, 133.

    Gray heaping scorn on the ‘new’ atheists, and showing a preference for his own version of “Schopenhauer atheism”,,,

    “The reason Gray recommends Schopenhauer’s atheism is that it denies that history has any direction or inner meaning.”
    https://www.lawliberty.org/2019/03/22/john-gray-separates-the-atheist-wheat-from-the-chaff/

    ,,, is much like the pot calling the kettle black, and is naively misguided at best. Atheism, in whatever guise it may raise its ugly head, simply provides no basis for human dignity of any sort in that Atheism denies that humans have any intrinsic meaning, value and purpose to their lives whatsoever. As such Atheism can never support any sort of objective morality that does not eventually completely collapse into Dawkin’s ‘red in tooth and claw’ survival of the fittest’ morality, i.e. ‘do unto your brother before he does unto you’ morality.

    Morally noble altruistic behavior of any type is simply completely antithetical to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/darwinian-grandmother-hypothesis-takes-another-hit/#comment-672921

    Moreover, as far as science is concerned, there are two main methods by which atheists have attacked human exceptionalism.
    The first method by which atheists have attacked human exceptionalism is by claiming that the Copernican Principle and/or the Principle of Mediocrity is axiomatically true.,,,
    The second method by which they have attack human exceptionalism is by claiming that humans are not all that different from ‘higher animals’. Atheists hold that the differences between ‘higher animals’ and humans are, as Charles Darwin himself put it, ‘one of degree, not of kind’.,,,
    Yet both of those supposedly scientific methods by which Atheists seek to denigrate human exceptionalism are now found to be false by none other than science itself.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/science-op-ed-humans-should-get-over-the-idea-we-are-exceptional/#comment-670252

    Simply put, humans have far more intrinsic dignity, meaning, and purpose to their lives than can possibly be presupposed within atheism, no matter what type of ‘nice’ atheism Gray may try to presuppose as true:

    Atheistic Materialism vs Meaning, Value, and Purpose in Our Lives
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqUxBSbFhog

    Thus, though Gray may try to denigrate new atheists for their “enlightenment evangelism’, the fact of the matter is Gray’s ‘replacement’ atheism of “Schopenhauer atheism” is just putting lipstick on a pig since it, like all other forms of atheism, will eventually wallow in the mire of the nihilistic insanity inherent if Gray’s claim that “human life has no more meaning than that of slime mould”. This is true no matter how much of the perfume of flowery nice words Gray may try to cover the stench that is inherent at the foundation of his completely meaningless atheistic worldview.

    Job 12:7-25
    “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food? …

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