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Is the New Atheism Intellectually Lazy?

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Initial post: Oct 6, 2011, 1:47:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jan 12, 2012, 2:29:19 PM PST
After writing a review here describing The End of Christianity as "intellectually lazy," I spend some time posting in PZ Myer's popular Pharyngula website.

PZ recently attacked critics of the New Atheism, portraying them as stupid and "uncool." As one of those critics, I responded. I don't care if he calls me "uncool" (that might have worked in Middle School) but was eager to see the greater intelligence of the Gnu tribe on display. The extreme vacuity of most of the actual responses (often I think from intelligent people), which made Loftus & Co look rather good by comparison, brought me back to the word "lazy" again.

More than a hundred of Myer's troops responded, mostly with puerile insults and obscenities. A few rose to a higher level of invective, by trying to deconstruct what snippets of my book, The Truth Behind the New Atheism, they could find on-line. The assumption was, apparently, that if they found some debatable comment in my book, that would somehow neutralize the points I made in that thread. But these arguments seldom showed that their authors had tried to deal with the substantive point they were debunking fairly: there was a lot of mangling of text.

There were, to be fair, two or three more interesting responses, including a clever parable.

But thinking such experiences through, and the modus google-andi of Dawkins & Co, I posted a piece called Zombie Attacks: the Intellectual Laziness of the New Atheism:

Does indolence explain the attitude and arguments of the New Atheism?

I'm not claiming that atheists never work hard at research. (Some of the writers here are pretty thorough -- Hector Avalos, for instance.) But it's even harder work, listening to a point of view you don't agree with. It takes a mental effort that goes beyond googling a few key words, or even reading books, to really understand and evaluate an opposing point of view fairly.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2011, 9:21:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2011, 9:39:05 AM PST

It is worth indicating that advocates of New Atheism offer public correspondences that is, as you indicated:

(A) Characterized as invective


(B) Characterized by a Brevity ("extreme vacuity")

In either case, it simply is not possible that New Atheism, inclusive of its Naturalist philosophy, will ever supplant either Religion or Theology on the basis of such a popularized superficiality.

Moverover, recent public forum correspondence on Amazon, has been characterized by a kind of
blank denial, on the part of New Atheist, whereby they try to coyly deny, that New Atheism and its Naturalist philosophy, is a worldview at all.

Instead, the tactic now being employed, is to deny that New Atheism even has a meaning, a purpose, or an intent.

This scenario could be analogous to an intelligent Scientist observing Primates in the Wild, who upon encountering the objects of his study, vocalized his enthusiasm by hollering out;
"Hey There! Halloo! How are you? I'm Dr. Robert Sapolsky from the University of Chicago!"; only to be met with loud screeches, hoots and howls from the Primates.

Also, in the Amazon forum dedicated to "The God Delusion" the Atheists have taken up the practice of publishing HAIKU POETRY, owing to their inability to engage in logical dialogue, and their inability to publish Scientific Evidences in support of their public assertions.

Arguably, these are the behaviors of persons who are not going to "advance" any idea at all.



As for John Loftus and his anthologists, their ideas are plagued by the very failings you indicate here.

I mean, sure, the Atheist can publish a few remarks denigrating your person and your credentials and expertise, but that is more than just a little shy of producing the kind of argument which actually shows the Christian Worldview to be dismissible. After all, anyone can "dismiss" an idea, with mere scoffing at it and ridicule of other persons; but proving an idea to be Factually False and Logically False, is a more demanding task, as your remarks testify.

So, what are we now faced with?

I think it is quite evident that New Atheism is a failed Social Movement.

Moreover, Christianity in its popular expressions in churches and so forth, is perhaps undergoing major shifts and changes as to its use of Orthodox Religious Doctrines.

I think that whereas the core doctrines, as to Christ and his Ressurrection, Ascension, and Messiahship and so forth may be generally acquiesced to by congregations, all of our conceptions as to Sin itself are undergoing transformation. Sins of the "flesh" therefore, as part of a popular culture, are issues that fewer Christians take exception to.

The difficulty thereby, is that it clouds the perception as to what role Sin plays in our current understanding of our own identity as "Christians".

(Not that this has anything really to do with New Atheists, by the way, because it really doesn't.)

No David, the dearth of New Atheist communication, is demonstrative of a Dinosaur of an Idea whose current extinction was an imminent possibility, now become fact.
They are all finished; Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Chrisopher Hitchens,
Victor Stenger, Richard Carrier and John Loftus.


In your public writings therefore, you wrote something of interest, in which you indicated that you did not see much in the way of differences between "Christians" and "Atheists".

At first, I took particular exception to that. Presently however, I think that you may have hit upon an idea that can be enlarged upon to great benefit.

Anyway, what I see, is that everywhere Atheists go to publish their ideas, a wasteland of ideas is evident, and when they have left, it is because Christians remain to occupy
the Portals of Conception. Christians remain, to classify the bones of the arguments, to categories and clarify. To what ideological crag do Atheists resort? I don't know, for they cannot be found, and only vague traces of their arguments are left.


I attribute the whole of that circumstance, to what philosopher Alvin Plantinga referred to as
The Noetic Effects of Sin.

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Initial post:  Oct 6, 2011
Latest post:  Dec 9, 2011

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The End of Christianity
The End of Christianity by John W. Loftus (Paperback - July 26, 2011)
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