New Atheism vs Old Atheism
#1
I moved this from the Dawkins thread.
(23-May-2011, 03:00 AM)P11 Wrote: 1. Can you point to some success stories? I believe more down-to-earth factors than the belief in a god determine whether there is a resolution or not, irrespective of how religious or irreligious the parties in a conflict are. The numerous examples of alliances and conflicts between the West and the muslim world in the last 60-70 years is enough to convince me so.
This is quite an important point. The fact that certain "new atheists" have come into being recently, claiming that religion is the root of all evil only ignores the fact that there were several Old Atheists who lived through previous stages of world history when today's circumstances existed in their opposite form. It is no coincidence that New Atheists like Dawkins point to Islam as the
"unmitigated evil" are doing so only when there are huge propaganda campaigns being waged by several interested religious and political groups against the same religion. A possible comparison is that if Dawkins existed in 1930s Germany, would he point to Judaism as the "unmitigated evil", given that Jews were being targeted by religious and political groups back then?

Quote:People find a need to belong to a group of people. Religion is just one of many many ways in which groups form. If religion is eradicated people just find other ways to group. Where there are groups there are conflicts. As an example, in my undergraduate days students were extremely loyal to their hostels and there was intense rivalry among the hostels, sometimes resulting in dangerous physical violence. Religion/caste played zero role in those conflicts.
This is another important point. Human life is complex enough that human beings find all kinds of excuses to identify themselves to different groups. For example, most religious people today identify themselves with not just religion, but several other things. For example, a religious Hindu may simultaneously be an engineer, a religious Christian may simultaneously be an avid footballer etc. Speaking of football, if one knows the kinds of ugly passions sports like football or cricket generate among people, would "new atheists" argue against football or cricket? Or is religion also behind the fights between football club fans as well?

Quote:2. There is also a place for criticism of the New Atheist movement lest it turn into a religion itself. I have seen quite a few atheists who are as blind as some religious people. And history provides an example in Buddha, who was an atheist and yet spawned, probably unwittingly, a religion.


Reply
#2
I think Bhagat Singh could by no means be considered a New Atheist, but he was an atheist nonetheless. According to the New Atheists, was he wrong to not analyse the British Raj in terms of religion, but in terms of colonialism and imperialism?
Reply
#3
I can't speak for the "new atheists" that you are talking about, but I am a new atheist, in that I do not hold back on calling out on religion, and I do not say that religion is the cause of all evil. Religion is just a manifestation of irrational thinking. The ugly passions that football games generate too are a result of irrationality. So my primary beef is with non-naturalistic and irrational worldviews and not with religion per se, but I do criticize religion a lot because it is quite prevalent and its effects are not insignificant. That reason is not very different from why I criticize Hinduism the most and not other religions i.e. I criticize religion a lot more than I criticize football hooliganism. But I will not argue that if somebody has to criticize football hooliganism, they have to start with religion. As Ajita says, new atheism is about taking a pluralistic approach.

And as I mentioned in the other thread, new atheism is also about a worldview based on science, about recognizing our flaws and about being less wrong about the world. Some consequences of such a worldview are fairly new because the science is new. The yesteryear atheists didn't have that science. That's the only distinction I'd make in "Old atheism vs New atheism". Other than that, the dichotomy doesn't make any sense to me. Nor does it make sense to see British Raj in terms of religion. That is the kind of strawman that I said P11 was setting up.
[+] 1 user Likes Lije's post
Reply
#4
(29-May-2011, 10:37 AM)madhav Wrote: A possible comparison is that if Dawkins existed in 1930s Germany, would he point to Judaism as the "unmitigated evil", given that Jews were being targeted by religious and political groups back then?

There are many possible comparisons, but not all of them are valid. This one is bullshit.
Firstly, the 'unmitigated evil' phrase is certainly open to criticism, and personally I'm not in favor of it, even if Dawkins uses it only as a rhetorical tool. But the situation of Jews in 1930s Germany cannot be, by anyone in possession of the facts, placed on par with the status of Muslims in the world today. If anything, the criticism of Islam as a socio-political religious ideology can be compared to criticism of Nazism. But let's not let Judaism off the hook either. Fundamentalist Judaism is almost as bad as fundamentalist Islam.

Quote:Speaking of football, if one knows the kinds of ugly passions sports like football or cricket generate among people, would "new atheists" argue against football or cricket? Or is religion also behind the fights between football club fans as well?

As has been already mentioned a number of times on the other thread, there are many issues that we can all be concerned about. But Nirmukta is concerned about this particular issue, as are the New Atheists. The tendency to distract from having important conversations by bringing up such arguments is commonly seen among religious apologists. If you are concerned about fights between football clubs and not about the deleterious effects of religion in our society, then please go find some other forum that better suits you. Don't waste our time here.

Quote:There is also a place for criticism of the New Atheist movement lest it turn into a religion itself.

Again, as has been already stated in the other thread, there is certainly room for criticism of atheism (or new atheism), but you are resorting to false equivalence by fudging the meaning of religion to mean just about anything.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
[+] 1 user Likes Ajita Kamal's post
Reply
#5
Quote:It is no coincidence that New Atheists like Dawkins point to Islam as the
"unmitigated evil" are doing so only when there are huge propaganda campaigns being waged by several interested religious and political groups against the same religion.
I personally see it as an "terrible evil". I hate it when so many lives and generations are pretty much wasted away as a consequence of a system where religion is so ascendant as in the islamic world. How do you see it? is it the "unmitigated" that is bothering you? Should that be reserved only for genocides?
How do you know its not a coincidence anyways? some gnu atheists have actually distanced their criticism of islam from any other politically motivated criticisms. Ophelia Benson is one, and you can look up her interview with swedish radio of late.

Quote:2. There is also a place for criticism of the New Atheist movement lest it turn into a religion itself. I have seen quite a few atheists who are as blind as some religious people.
I havent seen even a single atheist who identifies as a gnu atheist and is as blind as you claim. Why dont you send that crowd this way? Did you figure out why they became so blind? Can you point to some blogs or articles where they demonstrate their blindness? You do realize that pretty much everyone here reached their atheism after some amount of consideration and want to be much better informed.
You make such a ridiculous assertion that it could turn into a religion. Really?? We will go cuckoo and worship Dawkins idols and lay our brains to waste? And Buddhism from 1000's or years ago is the comparison? Did Buddha's subsequent generations also promote science and freethought like we do nowadays?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has - Margaret Mead
Reply
#6
In case you have not seen this, please do. It's long but meaningful and lucid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eM...r_embedded

Cheers,

AVVS
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  individuality and atheism praggy1973 4 3,005 04-Mar-2016, 04:18 PM
Last Post: praggy1973
  Why I Became An Atheist - My Journey from Orthodox Hinduism to Atheism nayakan 0 2,762 20-Sep-2014, 11:10 AM
Last Post: nayakan
  Should the State enforce Atheism? civfanatic 0 2,666 01-Dec-2013, 11:59 AM
Last Post: civfanatic
  On how I landed up in Nirmukta: An anecdote of my journey into Atheism. Poonguntan Cibi 0 3,781 08-Feb-2013, 10:30 PM
Last Post: Poonguntan Cibi
  Militant Atheism Deleted User 1 4,142 27-Nov-2012, 12:27 AM
Last Post: Captain Mandrake
  Why Atheism+ is need of the hour Kanad Kanhere 0 2,713 08-Sep-2012, 07:50 PM
Last Post: Kanad Kanhere
Information Atheism in India - What does the Census of India say? siddharth 3 9,287 20-Jan-2012, 09:02 PM
Last Post: screech
  Freethought, Atheism and Religion discussion from Delhi Freethinkers fb group Ajita Kamal 1 5,523 21-Apr-2011, 07:52 AM
Last Post: Ajita Kamal
  Cho refutes atheism... kind of. bala 10 6,841 25-Mar-2011, 07:55 AM
Last Post: holyshitbatman
  Shit about/not about Atheism nenevinay 0 2,166 16-Feb-2011, 02:08 PM
Last Post: nenevinay



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)