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26 October 2017 @ 07:35 am
Liberal blames society, bad childhoods  
Scott Alexander wonders why the New Atheists are so unpopular. One obvious oversimplification is that they’re assholes. Look at Richard Dawkins. Look at the alarming overlap with the Gamerhaters and the Alt Reich. Look at how many of them proclaim that religion is a crutch and kicking it out from under people is the most fun of all.

Here Benjamin Corey describes how he managed to get over the supposedly admirable state of being “God-fearing.” and remain a Christian. It seems obvious to me that scaring a kid like that is a form of child abuse. And the abused often become abusers.
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Sue Burkemount_oregano on October 27th, 2017 02:05 am (UTC)
Considering the large number of non-fear-based Christian faiths, I am less than impressed by his overcoming Calvinism. An afternoon in the religion section of any public library would have shown him many other time-honored paths to faith, some of them more fully-thought-through than what he worked out for himself.

Ignorance is a choice when information is as accessible as sand in the Sahara.
eub on October 27th, 2017 08:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, Scott Alexander's piece is ignoring several elephants in the room while he caresses "but it's saying what their audience already believes, and liberals love echo chambers, what could have gone wrong?"

One is that New Atheists contained a high fraction of assholes of various kinds, as you say, and didn't self-police that at all.

Related is that the whole New Atheist thing, compared to just being a normal atheist, was about aggressively proselytizing and blanket proclamations that religion is evil and believers are stupid. Which is not in fact what their audience already thinks. Plenty of godless leftists think that some religion gets seriously problematic, but other religion is just another strange thing people do that doesn't need the public's nose poked into it.

Echo chamber? They were controversial in part because they were attacking people and their friends. And they were doing it on grounds that just weren't good enough to convince many that they were justified. (What's the practical point anyway, did anyone ever give up their religion after losing to a dude's airtight argument?)
eub on October 27th, 2017 08:20 am (UTC)
(Compare to social justice activists online calling some things racist. Like with movement atheism, this gets seen as attacking people, and causes tons of fights and controversy within the general liberal sphere. Tons -- there's no way you can call that staying inside an echo chamber unless you give the chamber a circular definition. And like with the atheism, some people who hear it do feel alienated, and only turn more against the whole "movement" in question. But some other people hear it and think huh, they do maybe have a point there. So social justice hasn't, from my perspective, burned all its bridges and turned into a thing nobody outside itself likes.)