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The Trouble with the New Atheists: Part II

Thanks to Crapsquire for the link.
"Part I" was posted here -,4055,Why-the-New-Atheists-are-Right-Wing-on-Foreign-Policy,Robert-Wright-Huffington-Post,page2#396089

Last week in this space I posted an attack on the "new atheists" that got me--predictably, I guess--attacked by new atheists.

My complaint wasn't the usual complaint about them (that they're counterproductively arrogant or zealous), but rather that they exert a right-wing influence on foreign policy. By depicting religion as a prime mover of conflict--especially in the Middle East--they discourage us from addressing the grievances of, for example, Palestinians. They give aid and comfort to those on the right who believe (but generally have the tact not to quite say): "What's the point of trying to reason with those crazy Muslims? They'll hate us no matter what we do, because hate is what their religion teaches them."

I've weighed the counter-arguments that have been arrayed against me and--surprise!--found them wanting (though in one case--see point 2 below--I admit that I did a very bad job of presenting my argument, pretty much begging to be misunderstood). Let me revisit a couple of key points.
Continue reading



Science journalism through the looking...

Chris Chambers and Petroc Sumner -... Comments

Science has an uneasy relationship with journalism, so what can be done by both sides to improve coverage

In defence of obscure words

Will Self - BBC News Magazine 100 Comments

We chase "fast culture" at our peril - unusual words and difficult art are good for us, says Will Self.

Your Brain on Fiction

Annie Murphy Paul - New York Times 26 Comments

New support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.

The spectre of militant secularism

Nick Cohen - The Spectator 40 Comments

If you turn on the news tonight and hear of a bomber slaughtering civilians anywhere from Nigeria to the London Underground, I can reassure you of one point: the bombers will not be readers of Richard Dawkins.

A brutal price still paid for daring to...

Amol Rajan - The Independent 39 Comments

Their assault illustrates the extent to which defenders of religion still dominate our press, the brutal retaliation exacted on clever opponents of faith and the incorrigible stupidity of Sayeeda Warsi's claim about "militant secularism" last week.

The Sins of the Fathers [Also in Polish]

Richard Dawkins - 341 Comments

I can’t help wondering at the quality of journalism which sees a scoop in attacking a man for what his five-greats grandfather did.



Why Some Physicists Bet Against the...

Robert Wright - The Atlantic Comments

Hawking wasn't available to answer that question, but I did manage to have a long conversation with an American physicist who had also doubted the existence of the Higgs--Lawrence Krauss

The Anti-God Squad

Robert Wright - Foreign Policy 75 Comments

A Grand Bargain Over Evolution

Robert Wright - The New York Times 72 Comments



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