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Meet the new atheists, same as the old atheists- well almost

19 February 2014, 07:19

Not being one to wade into the atheist versus believer type of article topic as am aware those outside these interactions find them tedious, in addition to a few on the inside of these heated exchanges as well,  but I will proceed into the epicentre anyway as I don’t regard any subject matter as being off limits.

For those not in the know, the new atheists are the devoted followers of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris, the latter two rising to prominence in the aftermath of the terrorist attack of 9/11, joining the anti-theist author Richard Dawkins, to form and define a new breed of atheist. What set this new movement apart from the old was its militant attitude to theism, initially targeting Islam, in response to the twin tower attacks, afterward setting their sights on Christianity and to a lesser extent, Judaism.

It is clear this is a proselytising atheism, actively campaigning against religion in the public arena,  in sync with countries such as China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, and North Korea in which the state is committed to promoting atheism and discouraging or actively persecuting the practise of religion. 

Old atheism’s impact on public life began in 1793, when radicals enthroned the ‘Goddess of Reason’ in Notre Dame, the great cathedral of Paris, and celebrated the establishment of the Cult Of Reason, during the period of the Reign Of Terror i.e. The French Revolution.  

While the leaders of new atheism are writers, rather than leaders of political movements or countries, they have adopted the same techniques of their predecessors, the consistent theme being science and reason are the natural allies of atheism, in a war against religion and irrationality.

In the old Soviet Union for example, after decades of persecution, the Central Committee of the Communist party co-opted philosophers and academics into becoming active campaigners in the war of ideas against religion.  Problems arose when scientific theories seemed to be at odds with the ideological positions of the communist party.

During the Stalinist period, the problematic sciences were denied to be true science, the study and research of Mendelian Genetics (founded by a Catholic Monk) was banned for nearly two decades.

Hundreds of scientists were killed or imprisoned, Nikolai Vavilov, being the most prominent, who was starved to death in the Gulag in 1943, in stark contrast to Galileo, who at least died in his bed.

As late as 1948, Soviet astronomers decided to oppose the ‘reactionary –idealistic theory’, today known as the Big Bang, (first proposed by another Catholic Priest) and their reasoning? This theory of a finite widening universe would assist ‘clericalism’ they warned. Proof that scientists are capable of having ulterior as opposed to altruistic motives, mmm.    

The only hope therefor is an open and free society to counteract the threat of contemporary atheist dictatorship states as identified here. Yet there is evidence of some unsettling signposts.

Daniel Dennett wrote in a blog in the Washington Post ‘If quacks and bunko artists can be convicted of fraud for selling worthless cures, why not clergy for making their living off unsupported claims of miracle cures, and the efficacy of prayer. I also look forward to the day when pastors who abuse the authority of their pulpits by misinforming their congregations about science, about public health, about global warming, about evolution must answer to the charge of dishonesty”

So disagreeing with AGW, alongside prominent scientists, might put you at risk of prosecution simply for expressing these views on a public forum, in the kind of state that Dennett envisages.

Perhaps Dennett and like- minded folk might benefit from studying the errors of historical atheist states, as well as contemporary ones, in order to learn how to avoid similar tragedies in future.                   

 Proof of the adage ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’   

http://philosophynow.org/issues/78/New_Atheists_and_Old_Atheists

As displayed in a famous graffiti landmark    “God is Dead”  Nietzche

                                                                                    “Nietzche is Dead”  God

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