"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:

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@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.


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.


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Elekk: Gameing and Other Delightful Pursuits

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