Is atheism experiencing growing pains with all this in house bickering and accusations of racism and sexism? We have certain individuals who have risen to the forefront of the atheist cause but not without their fair share of criticism. Particularly Mr. Sam Harris and Mr. Richard Dawkins, who have received plenty of backlash from those in the atheist community who find their attitudes & comments racist and sexist. The likes of Greta Christina (Alternet) and Adam Lee (Patheos) have lambasted Harris and Dawkins over their comments towards Muslims and woman in general. But is there arguments and objections well founded? Are they being hyper-sensitive or do they possess substance to their accusations?
What are some of the more important aspects to consider for the ongoing atheist movement in regard to presenting a united atheist front that does not get mired down in finger pointing and disagreement? Is our atheist community too fragmented to ever become a cohesive group? There is strength in numbers but we seem as a secular community to be disjointed, and at times, even at odds with one another. What picture does this project to those members of society who may be on the fence about religion? Or does it even matter?
Can you give an example? I've periodically read his blog and not noticed anything glaring in that regard. Doesn't mean it isn't there, just that I didn't notice it.
In general, I've seen a lot of hysterical denunciations of him as Islamophobic or racist, but it seems like the same sort of "thought" process that I saw used against Dawkins, above.
If one paying due attention will see the misleading arguments. In a 3 hour long interview with Cenk Ugyur of "The Young Turks", starting at the 17 minute mark Harris conflates logic and probability. In this particular segment, they're discussing Mormonism and Harris postulates that Mormonism is slightly more absurd than Christianity, claiming that probability of Jesus returning from the dead to a town in the US is even less likely than Jesus returning from the dead at all. The probability in either case is zero, but by applying this fallacy, Harris establishes his cred as an authority in math and logic. This encourages non critical observers to be more accepting of
At 25 minutes, Harris begins building a very subtle "No True Scotsman" argument. First he sets the stage by acknowledging the difference between what people say they believe and the actions they actually take based of their beliefs.With this in mind he begins to focus on the extreme beliefs citing poll results (where knowledge of the actual poll questions are important in understanding the results) to bolster his argument before shifting to his unqualified opinion that the "extremists" are the "best examples of the faith". Harris then proceeds to build a straw-man scenario of an isolated population https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVl3BJoEoAU
I don't expect the Islamophobes on this forum, especially those who have converted a christian backgroud, or those tending to be totally accepting of people like Harris, but perhaps I'm more cynical thanmost.
Is atheism experiencing growing pains with all this in house bickering and accusations of racism and sexism?
I'm not sure how atheism can experience growing pains when atheism is just non-belief in God (or the rejection of claims that God exists). Do you mean "new atheism" or humanism?
Particularly Mr. Sam Harris and Mr. Richard Dawkins, who have received plenty of backlash from those in the atheist community who find their attitudes & comments racist and sexist.
A couple of Dawkins's tweets were epically stupid...this hardly says anything about Atheists in general. I'm not sure which of Harris's speeches, dialogues, writing is sexist.
What are some of the more important aspects to consider for the ongoing atheist movement in regard to presenting a united atheist front that does not get mired down in finger pointing and disagreement?
Looking for some united atheist movement is a little absurd. All we have in common is lacking belief in god. Many could care less if others believe in god or not, or how they are percieved, whether the world is secular or not etc. If you look to humanism however, you will find a "more" united group of "mostly" atheists.
Davis- "I'm not sure how atheism can experience growing pains when atheism is just non-belief in God (or the rejection of claims that God exists). Do you mean "new atheism" or humanism?"
Call it what you like the two are almost inextricably intertwined. Nearly all humanists reject the supernatural proposition.
I don't consider a unified atheist movement absurd at all. While many of us (atheists) are OK to care less about the future of religion or who believes what, I think it is in the best interests of atheists/secularists/humanists to join forces in combating the forces of organized religion. Particularly in the areas of politics and separation of church and state. You would probably feel this compulsion more so if you lived in the Deep South of America. Maybe not.
Yes...almost all humanists are atheists...but it's not the case the other way around. Not all atheists are humanists. A lot don't care (or haven't even thought about fighting religion).
The appeal of identifying myself as an atheist comes mostly from a freedom-from-religion standpoint, but also from the standpoint of showing god fearing or pop culture conforming theists that there is a way better than theism to become yourself, understand people, the world and the universe, or whatever floats your boat. I would be happy if people just learned better how to think for themselves, instead of succumbing so gullibly to external social constructions, institutions, and politics.
Bush II's "righteous" actions led me to identify as an atheist, but even that may not have happened without the actions of Al Qaeda. Beating fundamentalism and radicalism is my first priority, and in fact I believe that unifying moderate religious beliefs in order to battle against extremism is more feasible than eliminating religion. For example in Islamic governments, probably, only a reformation (e.g. in a constitution) that codifies freedom from religious persecution can reduce extremism. Al Qaeda and ISIS are not just products of Islam, but they have been allowed by Islamic governments to exist and grow. We're only in this fight because theocracies have enabled it. Blame Islam all you like, but maybe we can't win just by hating on Islam, short of nuking Middle East countries and their petroleum economies.
That probably sounds too much like a rant. I'll just summarize by saying that I wish that considering atheism was a more appealing stepping stone for theists to consider, e.g. when first wondering why the tunnel vision of different religions can be so contagious.
What I think most people fail to understand is that religions are, and have always been political tools of leadership to control the masses.Religion is always adapted to fit the requirements of the leaders. If we are to be effective in moving society away from the fall into theocracy, we must apply Wheaton's law: Don't be a dick.