Saturday, August 17, 2013

Are atheist political movements maturing or regressing?

The New Statesman unwittingly explains why atheism and New Atheism will not succeed as a political movement.

Richard Dawkins, we are told, has become an ironic parody of “the more militant tendencies in capital-A Atheism, serving as a useful reminder for all of us to be more nuanced and tolerant.” Dawkins crime, this time, was in tweeting “All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.”

Members of the Muslim faith are not privileged white Christians from the affluent imperial West. Therefore we are not permitted to criticize their religion.

“Islam isn’t a race,” is the “I’m not racist, but. . .” of the Atheist movement, a tedious excuse for lazy thinking that is true enough to be banal while simultaneously wrong in any meaningful, real-world sense. Yes, congratulations, you can read a dictionary. Well done. But it’s possible for a statement to be both true and wrong. “Homeopathy worked for me” is one example (as is its inverse): it may genuinely make people feel better, emotionally or through the placebo effect; but it doesn’t work in any medical sense.” [link]

Statements cannot be both true and wrong. The entire premise of Western philosophy is that statements are either true or false or meaningless. Or perhaps this is too ethnocentric for the Left?  Anyone asserting ‘homepathy made me feel better, therefore it worked’ is simply wrong. It’s a non sequitur. Anyone who interprets the question ‘did homeopathy work for you?’ as anything other than ‘did it cure your disease?’ is an idiot which shouldn’t surprise us as he/she did try homeopathy in the first place.

Dawkins holds the well known position that little good comes from religion, that religion actively hampers scientific and social progress. His tweet is obviously meant in this context, as collaboration of his views that religion is hampering scientific and social progress. Unfortunately he used the word ‘Muslim’ instead of ‘Christian’ so alarm bells began ringing among the cultural relativists of the Left.

“Dawkins remains a powerful force in atheism for the time being. Increasingly though, his public output resembles that of a man desperately grasping for attention and relevance in a maturing community. A community more interested in the positive expression of humanism and secularism than in watching a rich and privileged man punching down at people denied his opportunities in life. That, ultimately, is the tragedy of Richard Dawkins - a man who knows the definition of everything and the meaning of nothing.”[link]

I disagree (the journalist is a white male with no discernible disabilities so I believe I am allowed to disagree with him). This is not a maturating of atheism; this is a regression to the absurd obsessions that the paralyzed various New Left movements from the 60s onwards.

People become more conservative as they age because they learn to recognize fashionable nonsense for what it is.
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