"In retrospect, it’s unsurprising that a lot of New Atheism devolved into reactionary, antifeminist, and even white supremacist thought, because it was never really about the things it claimed to be about. The dominant affect of New Atheism wasn’t humility, or reflexivity, or curiosity, all the things one truly needs to improve intellectually. It was smugness."

The Magical Thinking of Guys Who Love Logic:

@noelle Yep. I know all of my interactions with people who were openly and aggressively atheist would openly belittle and insult me for mentioning that I went to church growing up. Even just as a, "Sorry, I didn't respond, was at church." And they would always be super surprised "because we thought you were smart"

Like, there's a reason atheism has become conjoined with neckbeard dudebros. And it's that they feel that they know something you don't.

It's agonizing.

@magicalmilly @noelle Atheism is basically it's own organized religion at this point. The loud aggressive atheists wield their beliefs like a club to anyone who disagrees.

I see someone who feels inclined to loudly proclaim they are an atheist as a red flag these days. A lot of the atheists I know don't refer to themselves as such anymore because of that sort of shit.

@magicalmilly @noelle I strongly remember an atheist white dude in a mythology studies class of mine who went into prolonged rants often during our studies of biblical mythos to the point people started complaining to the professor after class cause he was disrupting our learning experiences with his hostility.

@revolverocelot @noelle Like, do you think you're making any friends? Do you think you're making any allies?

Just.... do your shit.

faith, atheist, church 

@revolverocelot @noelle Agreed. The second someone starts to go on about how enlightened they are for not being enlightened, I nope the fuck out of there.

And like, I still have my faith. But, similarly, I keep it quiet and use it to guide my strong desire to help others and make choices rather than scream from the rooftops and stronghammer people into "enlightenment"

If you live out your beliefs, people will decide if they like them on their own.

@revolverocelot @magicalmilly @noelle this is exactly the reason why I dislike atheism as much as all organised religions. And the worse part is when these small hate groups want to speak for the millions of people (and there are more and more, I think) who don't want or don't need to believe in a god or a religion.

@steko @revolverocelot @magicalmilly @noelle is new atheism a US phenomenon? i didn't know it existed until last year when i had to politely explain to someone that when i said i was an atheist, i was not actually the she-devil they were describing. i'm just not a believer. which isn't to say i have problems with anyone who does believe, though i have since noticed that new atheism feels more anti-god than lack-of-god, and aggressively so.

@pippasaidwhat @steko @revolverocelot @magicalmilly @noelle I don't have statistics on it offhand, but I know Richard Dawkins (a brit) is a major figure in the movement, and he's had some doozy moments (like telling followers at a rally to mock Christians they disagreed with).

@sandrockcstm @pippasaidwhat @steko @magicalmilly @noelle 'Celebrities' like Ricky Gervais spread a lot of shit around that encourages hating and mocking organized religion too.

The Christian stereotype of atheists harassing anyone who even mentions God and being offended by it is blown out of proportion to make themselves out to be victims, but it's definitely rooted in some shitty behavior from white male atheists.

@revolverocelot gervais is a dipshit. sigh. honestly wishing the white men of this country would sit down and shut up.

@pippasaidwhat Yeah, I cannot flipping stand him in any capacity anymore. Between the aggressive atheism and defense of rape jokes, he's dead to me.

It is very anti-god instead of lack of God.

And, I dont know if it is *new* persay. It's been something I've seen and interacted with since the 2000s for sure. Had middle school and high school people who were staunchly in the anti-god category with ideas they got from the internet.
@steko @revolverocelot @noelle


Maybe new atheism attracted teens who also love to mob and mock those they don't like?

Gaming was a cool thing until gamergate. Now people are ashamed of saying they're gamers because of it.

It's also interesting that Reddit's r/atheism forum got taken over by a bunch of asshole mods who derailed the whole thing and turned the entire sub into a toxic place.

People fled and created other subs like r/trueatheism (r/true* are a common thing in Reddit).

@magicalmilly @noelle
So maybe the problem was not New Atheism at all, but the environment in which it flourished.

Is it a mystery that the worst examples of New Atheists took place in corporate social networks?

What if New Atheism took place in more regulated platforms like Mastodon?

@magicalmilly @noelle
Maybe it wouldn't have flourished at all and it might have remained a fringe movement, who knows?


Sometimes I think the reason for this is in part the idea that "godless scientists" were ruining the natural order of things per dictates of the mainstream religious guidelines, but no question that the "New Atheism" turned out to be anything but new and largely not even about atheism in a useful, productive sense. :(

@noelle A chunk of the problem is that media anointed the "Four Horsemen" whose strident anti-theism involved politically throwing in with Bush the Lesser after 9/11 on the principle that multiculturalism was bad.

sexism, harassment 

@cbrachyrhynchos Thank you. We might not have had this problem to the same degree if similarly prolific (and politically active) atheists like Christina or Svan had gotten any traction in the face of more demographically-appealing "thought leaders" like Dawkins or Harris or Hitchens.

So of course we got a movement that ripped itself apart the moment a woman politely noted men should flirt somewhere BESIDES isolated dark elevators at night.


sexism, harassment 

@Cobalt @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle

It would be interesting to see, it would certainly be different in tone, but I think it might just be really hard to organize a positive community around how you think other people are wrong

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @Cobalt @noelle Historically atheists have been important in labor and feminism (Goldman), environmentalism (Sagan), peace movements (Vonnegut), and broad education (Dewey). (None of the above are perfect.)

I'm UU so I have opinions on the political steeplejack of American humanism. (24 hour journalism needs conflict, and the mainstreaming of movements like the moral majority has polarized everything.)

sexism, harassment 

@cbrachyrhynchos @Cobalt @noelle I didnt say, or think that atheists have a hard time being positive. I think its hard to have a MOVEMENT organized around atheism that is positive. You can even have an organization organized around a positive thing that is all atheists, and have it work, but if the common ground that holds people together is thinking other people are wrong about something important to them, it seems likely to end poorly

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle “We only have this life so let’s use it to make the limited time available to everyone else as conscious beings also the best it can be,” is a lot more than “lololol those theists are ridic” and if it didn't occur to you as a common mobilizing point for atheists, you might benefit from reading Greta Christina's Way of the Heathen.

Coming to the conclusion "other ppl are wrong" actually makes many issues quite urgent if you THINK about it.

sexism, harassment 

@Cobalt @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle Movements organized around that are quite good and can include many religious people too :)

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle there's also a lot to do just supporting other atheists.

For a while, there was actually funding from the community for clergy who had "lost their faith" so that they wouldn't have to stay in jobs that required them to pretend they hadn't & lie to ppl & encourage others to spread what they considered lies, including funds for job retraining.

There's more to "theists are wrong" than a big circlejerk, provided the right ppl have a platform.

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle See also: Grief Beyond Belief.

Some people need grief support and counseling where other folks' faith-based coping isn't going to be their job to deal with navigating around or resolving conflicts with or graciously accepting bc just being an atheist is apparently nothing more than an attempt to pick a fight in some ppl's opinion.

If you don't need it you might not understand why it's important.

sexism, harassment 

@Cobalt @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle

I never said being an atheist is just trying to pick a fight! I have lots of atheists I love, I was an atheist for most of my adult life.

All of these things that have postive goals thats base is atheism are good!

I was only talking about another movement whos sole organizing principle is people who beleive in religion are wrong, like the new atheists. It makes people be evangelical and smug.

Religious people who organize around "people not of my religion are wrong" are toxic too.

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle With respect, that addresses nothing I said.

sexism, harassment 

@Cobalt @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle

I don't feel a need to address anything you said, because I'm not trying to debate you. And I don't even think we disagree on very much at all.

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @Cobalt @cbrachyrhynchos With respect, please untag me from this conversation.

sexism, harassment 

@rekh127 @cbrachyrhynchos @noelle It's not that I want a debate on anything. I feel DISRESPECTED by the fact that a lot of people have invested a lot of work, time, money, and mental energy they will never get back in supporting needs that people have specifically because they are atheists and most of the world isn't.

And I am not sure it counts for anything with you?

@noelle I've met a hell of a lot of people on the left as well as the right who claim to be all logical.

That's how we came up with catchphrases such as evidence-based policy.

Apparently the author loves logic and hates people that can't use it? Not a lot of introspection going on there at any rate.

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