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Atheist Activists Lament a Movement in “Shambles”


P.Z. Myers is an atheist Darwinist biologist who has turned sour on the New Atheist movement. Two cheers for his candor. He quotes another atheist activist, Eiynah, who writes:

It’s quite depressing that movement Atheism has turned into such a joke. I valued it so much once.

Professors Myers agrees about the “shambles [that] movement atheism is in right now”:

OK, that’s eerie — it’s the same scene, only about 5 years later, with different players. I noticed the “troubling turn” about 8 years ago, as more and more atheists began to rally around two themes: the Glorious Leaders who were fonts of inarguable Reason & Logic, and a definition of atheism that exempted them from all social responsibility or ethical obligation. The other big difference was that unlike Eiynah, I resisted criticizing with the excuses of #NotAllAtheists and they’ll outgrow the regressive social tendencies if we just keep trying. I was wrong. And it is quite depressing.

There’s some inside-baseball discussion of big names in the atheist firmament that have fallen to the earth, or are believed to have otherwise somehow betrayed their followers. Myers seems to refer to the so-called “intellectual dark web” of provocative online media figures (Jordan Peterson and others) when he concludes:

Where’s all the energy of atheism going? Right into the pockets of those jokers, many of whom are openly anti-atheist.

Interesting. What I take away is that the rank-and-file are increasingly interested in charismatic, sharp-witted, unpredictable, even quite humane and tolerant figures like Peterson, less so in doctrinaire New Atheism, which is short on charisma and plagued by troubling accounts of anti-social behavior. I’m not gloating, only reporting.

Photo credit: José María Mateos, via Flickr.