'The new Atheism'

The Religion Link blog says "the new Atheism" is a movement designed to make freedom from religion more relevant for a new generation.
Mark Brooky
Jun 29, 2013

 

"The so-called 'New Atheists' burst onto the scene about a decade ago with a string of best-selling books and manifestoes by a cadre of often polemical scientists, academics and popular writers," the anonymous blogger wrote. "They were led by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, who dubbed themselves 'the Four Horsemen of New Atheism.'”

However, according to the Religion Link blog, some nonbelievers are worrying that in denouncing everything about religion, these "New Atheists" may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

To read more, CLICK HERE.

Comments

pfpiper0

I don't understand why American's are scared of Atheist? Atheist are not the ones bombing buildings to get into heaven for 72 virgins. Atheist are not the ones protesting soldiers funerals with "God Hates F-gs" signs. My thought is that Believers are scared that one day, science may prove that God is not real. Does this notion scare you?

bigdeal

"The agnostic atheist maintains that any supernatural realm is inherently unknowable by the human mind, but this agnostic suspends his judgment one step further back. For the agnostic atheist, not only is the nature of any supernatural being unknowable, but the existence of any supernatural being is unknowable as well.

We cannot have knowledge of the unknowable; therefore, concludes this agnostic, we cannot have knowledge of god’s existence."

- George H. Smith, Atheism: the Case Against God

ChrisVanAllsburg

pfpiper0: It's an ignorant screed to decry "religious belief" by pointing to the few crackpots and fundamentalists within Christianity who hold angry signs against a particular people, and it's intellectually dishonest of you to lump Islamists in with all people everywhere to hold to a supernatural worldview.

Further, the idea that "science may prove that God is not real," is equally nonsense. Science is the interpretation of the natural world. Since the deity is not natural, science cannot disprove anything outside of the realm in which is operates--the natural world.

Science is actually proving the opposite of the New Atheists, anyway, who operate on the presupposition of philosophical materialism, touting that the world and everything in it is a closed system of material things only.

The neo-Darwinian idea that all of life came about by random mutations acted upon by natural selection cannot give an account for the complexity of life, or the creation of new species, or the origin of information.
DNA carries informational code, and the best explanation for this is that there is an intelligent agent at work in the origin of life. This is something that a strictly mindless material process is unable to do.

Neo-Darwinism is as much an intellectual idol and a mythical religion as any of the ancient myths produced by the materialist Greeks, of whom Epicurus is the progenitor.

bigdeal: It is a self-referential absurdity to agree with Smith when he says the agnostic mind says the supernatural is unkowable. How does Smith know this except to vault himself as an epistemological authority on all things? But then, he'd be God.

Mystic Michael

Excellent post, Chris. I think you've accurately characterized the essence of atheism - which is an ideologically-driven refusal to consider the many evidences of the existence of God. The basic philosophical problem for them is that it is just about impossible to prove a negative.

As you've correctly suggested, if anything science has increasingly discovered phenomena that can be explained ONLY by the existence of an intelligent Creator. At a certain point, even the most skeptical person, well-informed, has to at least admit that possibility - if only for the sake of intellectual honesty & integrity.

MM

Wingmaster

Lol, Bigdeal just got schooled.

Very eloquently put Chris.

bigdeal

As far as being schooled Wing, I got all that when I was growing up going to those BS catechism classes.
VanAllsburg, Mystic & Wing can believe whatever the heck they want, that's fine. I am good with that, as it is ALL ideological. Your bible was written by a lot of common men, not by any single diety. It is just like any fiction novel written today. If it can't be proved, it just isn't real, sorry. Tooth fairy, easter bunny, santa clause, god, jesus... all fake.
Sorry kiddies, your parents are lying to you, form your own concensus.
In my ideology I consider myself an agnostic athiest, sorry that scares you so. I am not alone. :)

ChrisVanAllsburg

bigdeal, Christians don't believe the Bible "dropped from heaven." They agree with your assertion that it was written by common men.

"If it can't be proved, it just isn't real."

Well, that's not exactly true, either. Once again, the self-referential absurdity: How do you prove the statement, "If it can't be proved, it isn't real"? You might answer, Well, I know something is proven to be true because the Axiom of the Universe is that you can't believe something unless you can prove it. Circular logic.

The Heidelberg Catechism is the schizzle. You should totally get jiggy with it, and reclaim the faith of your childhood.

The Old and New Testaments are replete with archaeological evidence, btw--if you are interested. For example, up until recently the evidence police didn't believe David existed, but lo and behold, what did they find in in Syria in a stone inscription at Tel Dan in 1993-1994? A stone inscription written by a Syrian king that says, "The House of David."

And there are 1,000's more examples. You might like to read "The Historical Reliability of the Old Testament," by Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen, or "Jesus and His World: the Archaeological Evidence" by New Testament scholar Craig Evans.

Cheers.

bigdeal

Thanks Chris. Thought you might like to read "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, "God is Not Great" or "The Portable Athiest" both by Christopher Hitchens, "God, The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist" by Victor J Stenger, "Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher to Athiest" by Dan Barker. I have more...
Peace out.

9teen percent

I could not agree more with you bigdeal. I also sat through 8 years of those catechism classes, or, 8 years of indoctrination in a superstition. In addition, I had religion classes for four years in high school and two years in college. What a waste! But I eventually saw the light. I will say, however, that the education in the other subjects was very good. Maybe too good for the church's own good, because in the science and math classes—where logic is used a lot—I learned to think.

As far as how I look at myself, sure I am an atheist: someone who has no belief one way or the other regarding a god. But then I thought, Why should I adopt a term—let alone a derogatory term—chosen by the opposition? So if someone asks me if I am an atheist, I'll say yes, but then I'll say that I look upon myself as being intelligent enough not to be superstitious. And superstitious is a derogatory term for a theist. Touché.

You called yourself an agnostic atheist. From what I understand, agnostic is implied in the term atheist. Here is how: agnosticism is about knowing or knowledge. One of the most common definitions of knowledge—and this goes back to Aristotle—is that knowledge is a justified, true, belief. In other words, knowledge has to contain those three ingredients. Since atheism lacks one of those components—belief—an atheist is by definition an agnostic.

Wingmaster

Don't worry Big, you don't scare us. Have another good day of existence.

bigdeal

Cool. Thanks Wing, you too!

HueJastle

" which is an ideologically-driven refusal to consider the many evidences of the existence of God."

oh yeah there is so much overwhelming evidence... why dont you enlighten us all?

Mystic Michael

Consider that the human genome contains about 3.2 billion base pairs - all arranged in a very specific order that is necessary to transmit the genetic information to form a human being. What are the mathematical odds that all 3.2 billion would somehow spontaneously assemble themselves into that correct order - without any design, help or guidance? Is it more rational to believe that it could happen purely by natural selection? Or that maybe God had a hand in that process?

Considering the barren nature of all celestial bodies of which we are aware, amidst the trillions & trillions of individual stars & planets that comprise the known universe, what are the odds that our planet would just happen to have: 1) a breathable atmosphere; 2) a very narrow band of temperature; 3) plenty of water; 4) an interdependent relationship between plants (consume carbon dioxide, expel oxygen) & animals (consume oxygen, expel carbon dioxide); and so many other conditions necessary to support life - without it having happened by design, instead of by chance? And of course if it happened by design, than what of the Designer?

Whatareyoutalki...

Gonna ask you to pump your breaks there.

To imply that the only reason the human genome is as complex as it is, is due to intelligent design is a bit of a stretch. Evolution elegantly explains and proves how once simple organisms can develop and evolve into more complex beings without the need for design by an omnipotent being.

Imagine if you will in 50 years, we are visited, or happen to visit another planet with life, or even intelligent life. Are we to believe that they too are there by design? That something put them there as an earth 2.0, a backup if you will, in case we happened to fail?

I understand the need for some to have a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose, but I challenge you to consider the blessing of the life that you, that we as a species have.

Consider that it could in fact be possible that we on planet earth happened to luck out. That our being here is a 1 in 3 trillion chance occurring. If this is true, that should give you even more motivation to "live", knowing that your existence is a "miracle". We are a statistical anomaly and we should relish in it and strive to make this life the best it can be.

Mystic Michael

Oh no, you don't! I'm not going to let you off the hook with such a shallow, facile argument as that. Evolution "proves" no such thing, and it is disingenuous of you to even suggest it.

Evolutionary processes may very well function in a number of simpler, more restrictive ways. But to state flat out that it "elegantly explains" something as complex as the human genome? No way.

That's 3.2 billion individual "pieces of the puzzle", if you will. Only one correct combination. How many discreet possible alternate combinations? I'm not a mathematician, but I know it's a HUGE number. If you truly comprehend the astronomical odds against it all coming together by chance - or even by natural selection - such a claim simply is not credible. Not even close.

It is absolutely jaw-dropping to me that this is the kind of stuff that routinely gets trotted out as "credible & believable" explanations for our existence...while the notion of a Creator is what gets ridiculed as a "fairy tale". The irony of it all...

Whatareyoutalki...

I would ask that you read the following:
http://news.nationalgeographic.c...
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/ev...

I doubt that anything I could ever post to this site would change your view's, but I'm not here to do that. I'm here to offer the other side, what I believe. Evolution is not massive changes over a short period of time, but very very small changes over a massive period of time. You can't think in terms of centuries or even millenniums. We are talking millions and millions of years of evolution, slowly shaping and changing the world and everything in it.

Given that the earth has had over 4.5 billion years to figure it out I think the odds here are on the side of science and nature. :)

9teen percent

It seems to me that if a person claims that his god is unknowable, then you have essentially proved non-existence. Here is how. If you say that your god is unknowable, then you are saying that it is true that you do not know anything at all about him. But as soon as you say that it is true, it is false because you are saying you do know something about him: He is unknowable. This is a contradiction. And contradictions can not exist in the real world.

If you want to claim that he exists in some other world and not in this world, then you have made your problem even more difficult. Now you have to prove this other world exists, that your god exists, and that he exists in this other world. Good luck!

Mystic Michael

Interesting syllogistic sleight of hand, 9teen. But there are problems with your premises, and therefore with your conclusion.

The basic flaw in your argument is one of subjectivity: Whether or not you or I find God to be knowable or unknowable is irrelevant to the question of whether or not God actually exists. To characterize God solely in terms of one's ability or inability to perceive His presence is subjective in the extreme. If He exists, He must exist independently of your perceptions or of mine. Faulty premise.

What you've just identified is not so much a contradiction, as a paradox. But to say that paradoxes - or contradictions for that matter - cannot exist in the real world is simply "contrary" to experience. They can, and they do. For just one example, look to the world of quantum physics, which presents many examples of phenomena that "logically" speaking, should not exist - yet they do. As so often occurs, the apparent paradox will likely become resolved - to us - just as soon as our perceptions of it changes, adapts & grows. Not when the nature of the thing itself somehow changes. Faulty premise #2.

I cannot prove that God exists - but you certainly haven't proven that He doesn't.

bigdeal

The burden of 'proof' lies entirely with the believer who is trying to change someones beliefs. You "cannot prove that god exists", because he/she does not. Athiests do not have to prove the diety does not exist, because we don't believe in "IT".

Mystic Michael

If you insist upon making this a matter of "proof", then I must point out to you that you've just introduced a circular argument against the existence of God - which depends upon the assumption of its chief premise in order to reach its "logical" conclusion (if "A", therefore "A"). And thus you've illustrated the utter futility of insisting upon "proof".

The reason why I can't "prove" the existence of God, any more than an atheist can disprove it, is because the existence of God doesn't correspond to our notions of what constitutes 'proof" - at least not in the way that more prosaic considerations typically do.

While God - if He exists - exists independently of our perceptions of Him, one's perceptions of Him are ultimately experiential, and therefore inherently subjective & personal. And the extent to which one either or does not have such an experience of God is wrapped up in all manner of individual psychological, emotional, cognitive, developmental & spiritual factors - the total nature of which differs from one person to another, just as each person's character & temperament is different from every other.

Whatever my own experience of God may be, it ultimately remains mine - and mine alone, no matter how much I may wish to share it with others. So it is with each of us: We each must find our own experience, in our own way, in our own time.

9teen percent

I was merely saying that if someone claimed that his god was unknowable that this was a contradiction and that contradictions can not exist in the real world. Aristotle's Second Law says that “Something can not be both A and not A at the same time.” As that applies here that means knowable and unknowable at the same time. This only says that an unknowable god can not exist in the real world, and not that a god, maybe even an unknowable god, does not exist in some supernatural world.

Let me address this other or supernatural world this way: If you have an idea or a concept in your mind, be it an idea of a person, place (a supernatural world), or thing, and you are claiming that this person, place, or thing currently exists, but neither you nor any one else can point to it and say “Here it is.”, then the idea or concept may be real to you, but the object corresponding to it is just imaginary. So your other or supernatural world is just another name for an imaginary world.

Mystic Michael

I hear you. You're essentially saying - and Aristotle is saying - that the concept "unknowable god" is an oxymoron. Fair enough.

Not to belabor the point, but your introduction of the idea of a "supernatural" world introduces similar definitional problems - IF one defines "supernatural" as being entirely unconnected to natural experience (which I personally do not) - as opposed to simultaneously entailing natural experience while also transcending natural experience (which I personally do).

For this reason, I would not agree to using "supernatural" as a synonym for "imaginary". It is the classic atheistic intellectual conceit - that if one cannot discern something (in this case God), that it must therefore not exist.

Absence of evidence is not equivalent to evidence of absence.

9teen percent

Mystic Michael we are having a little bit of a communication problem. No I am not saying that an unknowable god is an oxymoron. An oxymoron is an apparent contradiction: A juxtaposition of two words that just don't seem to go together. Military intelligence and rap music are examples. I'm saying that it is a contradiction if the theist defines god as being unknowable, and it is the theist's responsibility to do the defining. Contradictions can not exist in the real world. Something can not be A and not A at the same time. In addition, imaginary does not mean that something does not exist, it simply means that you can not point to it and say “Here it is!” Therefore, the thing's only real existence—at the present, at least—is as an idea, i.e., in your imagination. Lastly, you can define supernatural any way you like, but to most people it means beyond the natural. Since man can only know the natural, the supernatural will always be off limits to him. Off limits by definition.

pfpiper0

Atheist may be wrong, but I am okay with saying, "I don't know." Christianity and all other Abrahamic religions are definitely fiction. Snakes do not talk, 2 of every animal cannot fit on a small boat. Your book promotes hate. Millions of innocent people have died because of it. The Crusades, Columbus, 9/11, the holocaust are examples of your "Beliefs" causing mass murder.

Mystic Michael

The willingness to admit that one does not know, and the admission that one could be wrong, is actually one of the first steps on the path to wisdom. It is the essence of humility.

ChrisVanAllsburg

pfpiper: as far as snakes not talking: certainly you've heard other animals talk, like little birds in a cage? The only reason why you think the account of the serpent speaking to Adam and his wife (Isha, later to be named Eve), is because you are presupposing naturalism onto the text of Scripture.

As far as Noah's ark, it wasn't a little boat for one. Two, anyone who believes in genetic potential in the genome of species under the broad strokes of phyla and kingdoms, doesn't have to believe every single species of animal was on the ark, as new subspecies arise in a genome that is only beginning to manifest itself through the procreation process.

The Bible doesn't promote hate, either. I suggest you read the Sermon on the Mount, if you haven't, for the #1 ethic of Jesus is to love God and love neighbor--especially one's enemies.

Christians caused the Holocaust? Have you taken a history course?

pfpiper0

Holocaust was mass murder of a particular religion.
I will continue to be a good person without believing in a fictional book. Your book is full of lies. You are so blinded by it, there is no way of you ever seeing how crazy it is. God does nothing to make one a better person. Read a history book and see how many people died because of it.

Whatareyoutalki...

Being an atheist is no different than being a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Scientologist. It is an interpretation of ones surroundings, feelings, acquired knowledge and experiences. It is no more right or correct than Christianity is compared to Judaism.

Atheists have chosen to not believe based on the same criteria that those who choose to believe use. It’s the same reason why some people are liberal and some are conservative. It does not make them any more wrong then someone who chooses to believe in multiple gods, or that Jesus descended upon high in America.
Yet Atheist are hated because these choose not to believe in a spiritual being. They are considered “Wrong” for choosing to look at the world and suggest that it exists to exist, not because something or someone made it to be. They tend to (not all but some) cling to imperial results, repeatable instances, and applied theories to justify their soundings and their very being rather than reverting to an unknown “catch all” entity.

This lack of commitment to a “faith” based belief allows atheists to do things that normally would not be possible. They look beyond the known, and reach out into the unknown to find answers to questions that haven’t even been asked yet. That is not to say that this ability lies only with atheists but it is much more prevalent within them.

I’m aware that the people in this community are predominately Christian, and I think that’s great. I do not however think that it is ok for any kind of hatred or discrimination towards any one belief or lack of belief should be tolerated.
“For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

Mystic Michael

I for one certainly don't hate atheists. Personally, I'd rather hang out with a principled atheist than an unprincipled Christian - any day of the week! Some atheists are among the most intellectually honest people I've ever met - more so than many of the Christians I've met.

FWIW, I was an avowed agnostic (though not an atheist) for many years during my youth, although I also had many personal revelatory experiences that ultimately culminated in my conversion to Christ, and my baptism into the LDS Church at age 23 (best decision I ever made!). So I've kind of lived on both sides of the fence.

bigdeal

Good for you, that is wonderful security blanket if you need it! Whatever makes you happy, now you can get into 'heaven'. Why is it most all people of 'faith' feel the need to preach to people and try to sway their beliefs. Brownie points w/the holy trinity? Ohh, I might get to sit on his left hand, because his right hand is already sat upon!

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