Dawkins’ “New Atheism” Seen As Opportunity To Replace Church Authoritarianism With Transhumanist Worldview

Thursday, September 30, 2010
By Paul Martin

Beyond the “New Atheism”?

Russell Blackford
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
IEET.org

Understanding (and misunderstanding) the so-called New Atheists

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Caspar Melville has a blog post over at The New Humanist in which he analyses a “debate” held a few days ago, apparently in London, on the subject “Beyond New Atheism: Where next for the God debate?”

On this occasion, four people who agree with each other that the “New Atheism” is somehow dehumanising, flawed, and boring, exchanged reasons why the “New Atheism” is dehumanising, flawed, and boring. That’s hardly surprising, given their starting points, but there you go. Melville adds that:

It is true that there was no New Atheist on the panel to defend the arguments, but Laurie [Taylor] did a good job of pressing the panellists on the claims made by Dawkins and others for the importance of not allowing an exaggerated sense of respect [to] stop you from making a strong atheist case, and the audience too were quite critical. Given the frequency with which science came up, all three [others] professed a love for science but [I] felt that some misused it, I was sorry we didn’t have a scientist on the panel.

Well, I can’t help wonder how this can be called a debate when all four speakers, including Melville, took essentially the same position on the “New Atheism” … and there was nobody involved who was prepared to argue for a contrary view. Still, I wasn’t there, so maybe the event wasn’t as bad as Melville makes it sound. It sounds awfully like a handpicked bunch of people getting together to attack a bunch of other people who have not been invited along to defend themselves. That is hardly interesting or charitable or constructive. It’s nice to be assured that someone asked a few pointed questions, but surely if you’re talking about what is “beyond” the “New Atheism” it would be appropriate to ask for an opinion as to whether there is any such “beyond” — and what it might be — from someone who is more or less identified with the “New Atheism” itself. As there are plenty of such people in the UK, I don’t understand why that was not done.

The Rest…HERE

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