New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

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New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Battlehymn Republic » 2017-10-17 11:42pm

https://thebaffler.com/latest/new-athei ... rs-nichols
An irritating rhetoric meets the dumbest possible ideology

IN THE HEYDAY OF THE INTERNET MESSAGE BOARD, let’s say in the 1990s, a certain species of idiot materialized. He was male, aggressively pedantic, self-professedly logical, committed to the hard sciences, prone to starting sentences with “actually,” and almost always devoted to the notion that his disbelief in God imbued him with intellectual superiority. This archetype’s golden years were the 2000s, a decade that saw George W. Bush’s politicized creationism and the use of web forums peak in unison. Once that decade ended, the internet tired of his antics and made him central to a series of in-jokes —“neckbeard” described his less-than-stellar grooming habits; and his hat of choice, the fedora, became the butt of innumerable jokes during Obama’s first term. No longer needed or tolerated, this misunderstood paragon of Enlightenment-core values began a journey that brought him to the worst possible destination: the Republican Party.

The Bush years provided militant atheists and amateur debate enthusiasts adequate fodder for their performative condescension. It seems almost quaint in retrospect, but newish, performative Christianity was being lab-tested at the time. Bush himself was a born-again Christian who cited a vision from God when justifying the disastrous invasion of Iraq, and his leadership inspired zealots across the country to up the ante. In 2001, Jerry Falwell, who had recently accused the show Teletubbies of “modeling the gay lifestyle” to children, blamed 9/11 on pagans and abortionists. In 2003, Judge Roy Moore installed a 5000-pound Ten Commandments monument outside the Alabama Supreme Court, refused to comply with court orders to take it down, and was eventually removed from office as a result.

It was a fantastic moment in which to be a self-satisfied dork with a penchant for explaining things to people. Richard Dawkins’s 2006 The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens’s 2007 God Is Not Great each sold millions of copies, and Bill Maher’s Religulous was the highest grossing documentary of 2008. South Park lampooned Mormons, and internet trolls declared war on easy targets like the Westboro Baptist Church and the Church of Scientology. Until his disbarment in 2008, gamers mobilized to stop evangelical lawyer Jack Thompson from filing frivolous obscenity lawsuits against the makers of Grand Theft Auto. Atheists invented a religion around the “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” and demanded it be given equal weight in textbooks, to satirize the teaching of intelligent design in public schools. This subculture was dubbed “New Atheism.” It had a nice jaunt.

Once Bush left office, the promoters of “intelligent design” curricula retreated from the public sphere, and millennials asserted themselves as the least religious generation to date; the group that had coalesced around the practice logically refuting creationists needed new targets. One of the targets they chose was women. Militant atheism had always been male-dominated, but it took several years and a sea change in American politics for the sexism within its ranks to fully bloom. In 2011, skeptic blogger Rebecca Watson described in a YouTube video how a male fellow attendee of an atheist conference had followed her into an elevator at 4 a.m. in order to ask her on a date—behavior that, understandably, made her uncomfortable. The community erupted into what was later remembered as “Elevatorgate.” A forum was created to harass Watson, and Richard Dawkins himself wrote a comment telling her to “stop whining” because she had it better than victims of honor killings and female genital mutilation.

This dynamic played out again and again. In 2012, the popular atheist vlogger Thunderf00t (real name Phil Mason) aimed his sights at Watson in a video titled “Why ‘Feminism’ is poisoning Atheism,” thereby reigniting the previous year’s controversy. This time it took off, leading him to create several follow-up videos accusing women of destroying the paradise that was New Atheism for their own gain. In 2013, Mason inaugurated his “FEMINISM vs. FACTS” series of videos, which attacked Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist video game critic who was then receiving an onslaught of harassment and violent threats for daring to analyze Super Mario Bros. This sort of idiocy, combined, again, with the growing popularity of jibes associating outspoken atheists with fedoras, neckbeards, and virginity, led to an exodus of liberals and leftists from the “atheist” tent. Those who remained for the most part lacked in social skills and self-awareness, and the results were disastrous.

New Atheism and the Gamergate movement of 2014—which sicced vicious online mobs on female journalists and game designers based on spurious allegations of media corruption—overlapped in several ways. They were both male-dominated, the latter almost exclusively so, and they both festered on nerd-oriented internet forums. Both movements resented women and minorities who asserted themselves within those spaces, ostensibly because it provided an unimportant distraction from their respective goals of destroying religion and uncritically consuming entertainment products. The difference, though, was that Gamergate had no basis in reality. The central allegation of that controversy, that a developer slept with a Kotaku writer in order to secure a positive review of her game, was blatantly untrue. No such review existed, which posed a problem for anyone who viewed himself as the protagonist in a battle “vs. FEMINISM.” In order to continue this all-out war on feminists—the curious replacement creationists for a new decade that lacked for them—these New-New Atheists had to break with reality altogether.

The heirs to New Atheism may have a new target and a remodeled ethos, but their rhetorical crutches remain the same. They announce at every opportunity that they revere logic, evidence, and science, even if the opposite is plainly true. We saw this play out with James Damore, the engineer who was fired from Google after spreading a memo critiquing the company’s pro-diversity policies. Damore argued in his memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” that biological differences between men and women, not sexism, could account for the lack of gender parity in the tech industry. In the memo, he repeatedly used the favored buzzwords of atheist pedants. He wrote that he “strongly value(s) individualism and reason,” claimed that “the Left tends to deny science” and asked that Google “be open about the science of human nature.” The repetition of these sentiments failed to strengthen his case, which was made from gut feeling and justified retroactively with garbled logic and irrelevant studies. An investigation by Wired found that two of the researchers Damore cited disagreed with the conclusions he drew from their work, with one telling them that “It is unclear to me that this sex difference would play a role in success within the Google workplace (in particular, not being able to handle stresses of leadership in the workplace. That’s a huge stretch to me.)”

It became more evident that Damore was less interested in scientific truth than giving credibility to his prejudices when he immediately brought his grievances to the right-wing internet. Despite writing in the memo that “some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change),” he was willing to be interviewed by campus gadflies Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro, both of whom are climate change deniers. Damore’s choice of interviewers damaged his cause, but it revealed his motives.

Ben Shapiro, formerly of Breitbart and now editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, has made a project of adapting the pedantic rhetorical style of New Atheism to conservatism, an ideology that persists in constant tension with rational thought. His speeches and television appearances are a mainstay of “Feminist DESTROYED by Facts” YouTube, and they often accumulate millions of views. His orthodox Republican political positions are nearly identical to those of the nutjob theocrats New Atheists gleefully tore down during the Bush years—including that homosexuality is a choice, transgenderism is a mental illness, pornography should be illegal, and G-rated TV shows are corrupting our children. Even so, he frequently professes to love “science,” which is all his credulous fans require. Comically, given his religion-derived worldview, Shapiro’s current catchphrase is “facts don’t care about your feelings.”

James Damore’s first and most damning interview after being fired was with prolific writer and YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux, who represents the most extreme example of the misuse of militant atheist rhetoric. Molyneux is an enthusiastic Trump supporter, a frequent Alex Jones collaborator, and a fixture in the alt-right. Like Damore’s other acquaintances, he denies climate change exists, but he also subscribes to fraudulent race science, argues that mental illness is a Jewish conspiracy, and believes the Las Vegas mass shooting was the result of a nationwide war on children. Despite all this moonstruck gibberish, Molyneux writes and speaks in the New Atheist style, fashioning himself as a master of logic, reason, and evidence.

In a political cartoon by Ben Garrison, an ex-libertarian who now panders to the alt-right, Molyneux is drawn popping bubbles—labeled “Trump is a misogynist,” “Trump is stupid” and “my feelings”—using enormous needles tagged “logic,” “reason” and “evidence.” In another, Molyneux holds a golden shield emblazoned with “REASON EVIDENCE LOGIC” as Hillary Clinton fires arrows representing her various campaign slogans. In these portrayals, the evidence or reasoning in question is never revealed, and for good reason. The depicted slogan “Stronger Together” is unmemorable, sure, but what about it is inherently illogical? What evidence could conceivably “disprove” it? The concepts themselves, imbued with such inherent value that they may as well be magical incantations, are powerful enough to frighten attackers before an argument can ever take place.

Molyneux’s latest book, titled The Art of the Argument, is riddled with errors and displays a complete disregard for the conventions of formal logic. He provides incorrect explanations of intro-course concepts like syllogisms and inductive reasoning, but it makes no difference to the Infowars-addled target demographic. For the average Molyneux reader, who was almost certainly explaining Darwin to video game forums circa 2006, rhetoric is less a field of expertise than a trove of context-free buzzwords to throw out during online spats. Simply owning a copy of The Art of the Argument provides the amateur logician with enough confidence to unleash Molyneux’s signature retort, “not an argument!” To anyone with more than a cursory understanding of these concepts (or a familiarity with the Molyneux cult) an accusation that their retort fails to meet Molyneux’s jumbled, self-contradictory criteria for an “argument” is meaningless. To the conduit for Molyneux’s sophistry, its use is akin to a fatality move in Mortal Kombat.

The only surprising thing about this marriage of convenience between the most irritating rhetorical style and the dumbest possible ideology is that it took so long to come about. Whatever merits anti-theism may have with regard to social issues, humanism was never the prime mover for New Atheism’s most devout adherents. They were after the burst of dopamine that comes from feeling smarter than other people, from exercising some pathetic simulacrum of masculine power, from seeing someone else feel bad and knowing they were responsible. Strangely enough, this is also the goal of modern right-wing politics. Just as conservatives discovered they could skip straight to the “angry liberal” portion of the argument by electing Donald Trump, the worst New Atheists discovered they didn’t need atheism at all. They could just be as insufferable alone, on Youtube, spitting nonsense into the vacuum. The Greeks, those purported inventors of Western logic, had a name for such a man divorced from the public good. They called him “idiot.”
Pretty interesting history of a subculture.

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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-10-18 03:05am

I wouldn't even say it's "history of a subculture."

I'd say it's "history of certain individuals."

It may not even be that.

It's like, I'm sure you could track a number of angry young aggressively atheist intellectuals who were in their teens or 20s circa 2000, at that time denounced religious fundamentalists, who are now angry middle-aged aggressively somethings, and now eager listen to angry middle-aged faux-intellectuals who think they're "destroying" feminism or whatever.

The question is, how many such people are there? What percentage of people who fitted the profile of "stereotypical condescending atheist" circa 2003 or whenever? How many of them really did go on to end up as Gamergate attack dogs or Breitbart fanboys? I don't think the percentage is very large.

Whereas this article makes it sounds as though the entire demographic of Internet atheists migrated over to the alt-right, became the Gamergate swarms, and now jerk off to the idea of Trump 'destroying feminism' or whatever.

To which I can only reply, "Bullshit!"

...

Note how they basically say "The people who fought back against creationists in 2004 must all have been angry nerds who were just trying to feel smarter than everyone else. And the alt-right is all a bunch of angry nerds who are just trying to feel smarter than everyone else. So it must be the same people!"

None of those three sentences is even particularly true, let alone insightful.

There are a handful of people who made that transition. There are many more who were fighting Republican fundies then and are fighting Republican neo-Nazis and misogynistic donkeys now.

And it doesn't help when we see someone trying to criticize the alt-right on the grounds that they are a bunch of angry nerds. Which is what this article is doing.

Gee, great way to convince people who actually do pride themselves on trying to use logic and good judgment that your camp is the right one...
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Zaune » 2017-10-18 05:44am

This is hardly a new phenomenon anyway. People with niche hobbies, poor social skills and a chip on their shoulder predate the Internet; indeed the phenomenon probably existed long before A.E van Vogt (hopefully unintentionally) gave them a fictional figurehead to rally around when he wrote Slan.

Although I have to admit that while they aren't necessarily the same individuals, it's quite likely that the same category of person who was attracted to New Atheism a generation ago is probably getting swept up by the Alt-Right today. I'm sure I'm not the only person on this board who turned to arrogance and intellectual snobbery as a coping mechanism when subjected to ostracisation and ridicule from their peers, and I suppose it's not a great leap from that to developing a passion for eugenics if you don't grow out of it. (Which I at least like to think I have.)
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-10-18 06:34am

Okay, I closed a tab and lost my post like an idiot...

But basically, my objection to this comes down to the fact that the article isn't really proving much of a connection. When you're allowed to use stereotyping and fuzzy reasoning to claim that two groups are equal because their stereotypical versions in your head have similar personality traits? Yeah, that can be used to 'prove' a lot of things.

Likewise, if you get to single out like four people and say "these four people went from Group A to Group B, therefore Group B is the heir to Group A," you can prove almost anything you want.

I wouldn't take this article to heart, if I were you.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-10-18 07:12am

My experiences here in the Smartest Board in the Internet ( :lol: ) - from seeing the War on Terror jingoism, the rah Star Trek is socialist go Star Wars stormtroopers, to heck people going "drop rocks on blue alienoids" from Baen Books-fapping dour as fuck milwankers who'd die if they go outside the bounds of hyper-militarized sci-fi/fiction - and encounters with redpill rightwing subculture elsewhere... makes me amenable to the article's gist.

There IS a trend, it DOES piggyback on certain pre-existing subcultures and tendencies, there is crossover and osmosis. There might not be clinical statistics (that's hard to do), and those would be useful, but I think it is on to something. Face it, a lot of us *have* those tendencies, have outright EXPERIENCED these things and have come pretty close to going full redpill edgelord shitpiece - or have actually had phases of such.

Face it, for a lot of shallow people the veneer of supposedly rational atheism - that reduces complicated issues to just "rah its just religulons and other things, including things that I call irrational just because I don't like them" - may actually make people insular, insulating them from checking themselves for biases and other ideological skewering beyond matters of religion. Look at Hitchens, one of the big daddies of New Atheism, who nonetheless cheerleaded the War on Terror because of his islamophobia. Yes, Islamic fundamentalism isn't good, but the tunnel vision with regards to that allowed such people to become unwitting cheerleaders for things like Bush's nonsense.

AND imagine, if the article wasn't talking about the sacred cow of New Atheism, if it was just instead talking about how toxic nerd fanbase communities' general insularity allowed crossover to the Brietbart alt-right crowd, none of y'all would be protesting as much. So honestly, I don't see a big difference between amateur New Atheist smartest board on the internet CONCESSION ACCEPTED FUCKPALMER obnoxiousness and toxic video game "RAW MY LIZARD MASTERCHIEF BEAT YOUR SQUAWKING GREMLINOID HUURRRGH GODDAMN MANGITA STRAKEESIAN FEMINISMISNISMISTS UUUURGH" culture shitness.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-10-18 07:44am

Simon put forward similar thoughts to what I had on this article. You can see the ad hominems and conspiracy theories coming on. It accused atheists of attacking feminism because they just needed a new target after Creationism and Idiotic Design retreated.

The thing is, you can people who identify as feminists entering the atheists and sceptic communities and trying to introduce feminism into it. Look up the history of Atheism Plus. Now atheism and feminism aren't mutually exclusive, but one can see how atheists might view someone trying to change an atheist and sceptic conference into one talking about something else. It gets worse when there were rape allegations thrown around against prominent speakers (none of whom have been charged), where people openly felt the accusation in and of itself was sufficient (if you read the blogs around that time). Even when the accuser wasn't even named. It literally is someone somewhere accused person x of rape, which makes it impossible for person x to defend themselves if they don't know who their accuser is. When "look at the evidence" gets replaced by "listen and believe," is it unsurprising that self proclaimed sceptics would object?

Around this time we also see the word "privilege" instead of being used as an explanation of why things are or a description of the double standards in society, get changed into a "I win argument." Literally watch Suzie Park's interview about banning Colbert and when she couldn't answer a question, she just accused the interviewer of having white privilege. I believe one of these "heirs of new atheism" Professor Gad Saad started describing the use of this phenomenon as "the oppression olympics."


The other thing about this article, is it calls people the "heirs of new atheism" for using the terminology and language atheists in the 2000s like to use. This seems strange to me, because good/ good sounding arguments will have similar forms. Looking deeper, on a quick google search I really can't find any evidence of what religious belief or lack of it applies to James Damore or Ben Shapiro. Which may be why he only notes Thunderf00t and Molyneux as atheists. This makes me think his rant is more against the Alt Right or anti feminists and using atheists to try and buttress his thesis that the heirs of the new atheists have become women hating nerds, or something.

Going on there are some atheists who do fit into this Breitbart / Gamergate mould, maybe not perfectly, but there are. For example Sargon of Akkad. However he rarely talks about atheist stuff, even though he acknowledges he is an atheist, because he isn't interested in that. He is more interested in bashing feminism. In which case I don't think such people should be counted as "heirs of new atheism," just because they happen to be atheists or use the same language atheists in the 2000s used. As mentioned its dubious whether some of these "heirs of new atheism" are even atheists at all.

On another note, I find it funny how the article went into reasonable detail on why arguments by Molyneux and James Damore suck, but used fallacious reasoning against Thunderf00t. LOL. I mean his arguments against Thunderf00t were he attacks Sarkeesian who was receiving threats from PEOPLE OTHER THAN THUNDERF00T (appeal to pity and poisoning the well fallacy). Its almost like he won't attack Thunderf00ts arguments about hearsay accusations against various atheists.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-10-18 08:30am

I can get that the article may be fudging the "demographic taxonomy" since it'd be like saying how the "new atheists have become all libertarians" when that's not necessarily so and when others could easily say that these godless sodomites have fueled the left. It's generalizing the phenomenon as a one-sided thing when the 2000s-era/Bush-era internet argumentativeness and militant debates over religion disseminated to BOTH the redpill and what detractors would call "SJWs" or tumblristas now dominating the conversation.

Then again, knowing the likes of Curtis Saxon and Stuart Slade and the dregs at HPCA... "Balls said Lt so and so"... we can all admit that it's a very real current/flow. The article might be too one-dimensional, but that dimension or facet DOES exist.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-10-18 02:33pm

Then again, the only people who could be afraid of women and try to denigrate them on Youtube are deeply insecure, pathetic persons.

The counter-feminism movement is a bunch of assholes. You can be a good scientist and a smart asshole, or just an asshole without any smart.

But the above stays true. Doesn't matter if you're a cool scientist or just a useless misogynist nerd.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-10-18 03:01pm

Anyone who makes videos titled "Why 'Feminism' is poisoning Atheism" or 'Why 'feminism' poisons EVERYTHING" is not attacking arguments, I fear. You don't need to eat the whole egg to determine it's rotten.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by TheFeniX » 2017-10-18 03:07pm

This seems very "buzzwordy," as in they are hitting enough Google terms to get their hits. There's been a lot of shit going on outside "-gate" type bullshit, but we'll just continue to only hit the names and events you should already know.

The Internet is built off (only word I can come up with) contrarianism. The first people to get into it would have been considered outcasts and much of what they would have talked about would have been too "nerd shit" for anyone else. The amount of vitriol even on the old BBS system was insane. This (mostly White Male because they were nearly the only adopters) took swings at everything and everyone.

Given no outside "threat," they would devour each other and attack any perceived difference even among their own. One of my "buzzword" topics would be the "OMG what the fuck is wrong with people" Counter-Strike vs Unreal, vs Quake blowouts as white males fought to out white male each other. And that shit got bad. But even before that, SNES vs Genesis. And the Internet gives you unfiltered access to peoples opinions and others ability to troll the ever loving fuck out of that opinion.

And their are sites that still exist solely to bolster this type of shitty attitude. And they continually replace their "loses" as new kids come onto the scene who are young, mad, and stupid. But also technically competent. The sites had a problem for years with "turning on each other." Now, they have so many targets for their aggression, that isn't so much a problem.

Given no one to heap their anger on or caught with their pants down and having their world-view shattered, they can and have devoured each other. I have found this holds true everywhere. More recently: Liberals after 2016 and Internet feminism in general.

Normal people barely have over a decade dealing with this. And they suck just as bad but these types don't take a swing at "black males" even though I can troll Facebook for five seconds and just find all the worst of the everything. But that would be a dumb assertion to make, just as saying "ah man, this same group of shitty white males must have moved onto something new because white males are one cohesive block!"

I mean fuck, somehow "neckbeards" are holding back Core Gaming because they complain loudly about feminism. This same group of guys who is totally ignored by publishers because they don't buy core games, they might not even bother pirating them. LOGIC!

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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by K. A. Pital » 2017-10-18 03:24pm

Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-18 03:16pm
K. A. Pital wrote:Anyone who makes videos titled "Why 'Feminism' is poisoning Atheism" or 'Why 'feminism' poisons EVERYTHING" is not attacking arguments, I fear. You don't need to eat the whole egg to determine it's rotten.
Sure he is. You just need to press the triangular button on the bottom left corner of the screen.
I did. Opinion stayed. Case closed.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Formless » 2017-10-18 04:10pm

I'm with Shroom on this one. These days I have to stay away from any kind of videos on Youtube with an Atheist theme, because guys like Thrunderf00t, The Armored Skeptic, and Sargon of Akkad are just so damn big, and have the audiences to demonstrate that they aren't merely individuals with shitty opinions. When these individuals (and others!) are getting millions of views, then you can't dismiss that there is a trend there or a subculture. I mean, these are people that even RationalWiki, which was born out of New Atheism, pretty much hates because they are such shitheads.

And its no surprise, either. Look at the Four Horsemen, the progenitors of New Atheism. Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, and Harris: of them, only Dennett has, as far as I can tell, managed to avoid falling into the trap of post-9/11 Islamophobia, and Hitchens was such a shit that he had to be waterboarded voluntarily before he would admit that waterboarding was torture! Dawkins meanwhile is an asshole to his fellow biologists (as Alyrium has said before) and is prone to exaggeration when making his points about religion, so even when he is making a valid point it tends to attract douchebags to his side. Harris is incredibly well spoken, and has a lot of intelligent things to say about philosophy and religion-- which makes his Islamophobic statements all the more dangerous because they are so much more persuasive and attractive to the wrong crowd. Dennett is the only one who doesn't end up looking like a complete shit because he is the only one of them with formal training in philosophy, and therefore sticks to subjects he is actually qualified to speak about. And again, that's only as far as I can tell, there might be stuff I've missed about the man.

So given that, its no surprise that when three of the four Big atheists are dipshits that they would attract dipshits with their own bigoted agendas like misogyny and racism. This doesn't mean that there aren't people like PZ Myers who manage to avoid the pitfalls of this kind of retardation, but it has to be said that Myers has begun deliberately avoiding the New Atheist label in favor of the Atheism Plus label specifically because of Phil Mason/Thunderf00t. Again, even though the article is focused on individuals within the Youtube sphere, the idea that this represents a trend is neither new nor necessarily invalid. Its part of the reason Neil DeGrasse Tyson doesn't call himself an Atheist at all, not because he believes in God (he doesn't) but because he doesn't like the expectations from others that it will mean acting a certain way or expressing certain things (that are often stupid). And hey, the guy is on good terms with Dawkins and Harris, so its not so simple as to say that nothing any of these people have to say is valid. But there is a lot of toxic things that have crept into the community over the years, because building a community around skepticism is just as hard as building one around Nihilism-- and for the same reason. A community needs to express positive values if it doesn't want to be hijacked by the first person to come around with asinine beliefs; AKA your Phil Mason types. That's sort of the paradox of the New Atheist movement, and the reason I never really considered myself among them.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Formless » 2017-10-18 04:32pm

If you have nothing but ad hominems to bring to the discussion, you can fuck right off.

I wasn't basing my opinion of Harris off of any one statement he made, nor his thought experiments. Its a pervasive theme in most of the shit he writes, even stuff that has little to nothing to do with religion such as his book The Moral Landscape. Somehow, even when writing a book purely on the philosophy of Ethics, he manages to include snide offhand references to his moral opposition to Islam. And besides, just because something is a thought experiment doesn't mean it won't give you insight into the character of the person who wrote it.

As for Myers, did I say that I agree with him? No, I believe I used him as an example of how this article is not the only place you see this sentiment about New Atheism being expressed, Myers has written about it many times. But besides that, I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Everything I know about him suggests he's basically a feminist and an outspoken critic of the Evo-psych bullshit MRA's frequently use to justify their idiocy.

And lastly, I don't give a shit about either thunderf00t or Sargon. Both of them are beneath my contempt, and I don't care about ranking who is worse. I refuse to watch either of 'em.

Get lost, hatfucker.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-10-18 04:40pm

While the article relies rather too heavily on stereotypes for my liking, it does have a strong element of truth to it, in my experience. There is a culture of pedantic, bullying, power-tripping nastiness in on-line debate (which is often masculine/male-dominated), and for a lot of those involved, it probably doesn't matter all that much who the target of their bile is. I'll also admit that I'm more guilty of that sort of behaviour than I'd care to be, though I'd like to believe that I've generally chosen good causes, even if I haven't always advocated them in the most civilized manner.

There is also a strong strain of misogyny in internet nerd culture (I recall, for example, how many people even on this fairly left-wing forum I've seen whining about feminism and "SJWs"), though since that exists in all, or nearly all, aspects of our society, I don't know that its fair to single that sub-culture out.

But I also think that to some extent we're looking at an issue that transcends any single sub-culture. There is... a disturbing amount of overlap between the far Right and the far Left these days, perhaps best exemplified by the "Bernie or Bust"-types who went to Trump (a demographic who's size has been exaggerated, but which probably has a lot of overlap with "angry young men on the internet").

Some of that, I expect, is just angry assholes looking for a way to vent their spite, and not really much caring what side they're on or who the target is. Some of it is frustration at the "establishment", which just wants to break something if it can't get its way.

But some of it is also undoubtably people who are liberal and progressive... right up until they have to actually sacrifice some of their own privilege or position of dominance to accomadate women or minorities.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by ray245 » 2017-10-18 06:54pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-10-18 04:40pm
While the article relies rather too heavily on stereotypes for my liking, it does have a strong element of truth to it, in my experience. There is a culture of pedantic, bullying, power-tripping nastiness in on-line debate (which is often masculine/male-dominated), and for a lot of those involved, it probably doesn't matter all that much who the target of their bile is. I'll also admit that I'm more guilty of that sort of behaviour than I'd care to be, though I'd like to believe that I've generally chosen good causes, even if I haven't always advocated them in the most civilized manner.

There is also a strong strain of misogyny in internet nerd culture (I recall, for example, how many people even on this fairly left-wing forum I've seen whining about feminism and "SJWs"), though since that exists in all, or nearly all, aspects of our society, I don't know that its fair to single that sub-culture out.

But I also think that to some extent we're looking at an issue that transcends any single sub-culture. There is... a disturbing amount of overlap between the far Right and the far Left these days, perhaps best exemplified by the "Bernie or Bust"-types who went to Trump (a demographic who's size has been exaggerated, but which probably has a lot of overlap with "angry young men on the internet").

Some of that, I expect, is just angry assholes looking for a way to vent their spite, and not really much caring what side they're on or who the target is. Some of it is frustration at the "establishment", which just wants to break something if it can't get its way.

But some of it is also undoubtably people who are liberal and progressive... right up until they have to actually sacrifice some of their own privilege or position of dominance to accomadate women or minorities.
Has there ever been a shift towards a more balanced demographic in regards to internet forums like these? These are almost entirely male-dominated, perhaps even more so than some male-dominated industries or companies.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-10-18 07:35pm

I expect its self-perpetuating to some extent.

When you have an environment that is dominated by horny/aggressive men (not referring to this forum specifically, but to SF fan forums in general, at least in my experience), or even if that's the reputation they have, a lot of women are probably not going to feel terribly welcome.

There are exceptions, of course. But I think that these things do likely become self-reinforcing somewhat.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Dragon Angel » 2017-10-18 10:52pm

Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-18 02:22pm
Phil Mason a guy actually advancing human understanding of physics is an idiot but Anita Sarkeesian, a con artist asking people for money in exchange for producing videos about how it's unfair that Batman has a cape that covers his ass but Catwoman doesn't, now that's a real stand up girl. :lol: :lol:

Or decrying Richard Dawkins because he once insulted a complete useless nobody like Rebecca Watson whose grand total contribution to science and logical thought was that she took a photo of her naked self wrapped in periodic table of elements. Science'n'shit.
Oh, yet another SHARKEESIAN IS A SCAM ARTIST guy. You know, the woman who made a kickstarter for a video series and ... then made the video series. I'm going to guess you'll post proof of this ever-infinitely-moving goalpost that she can't possibly ever humanly meet. :lol:

That slight against Watson is just one boring ad-hominem. Yawn. Troll harder bro.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-10-19 07:01am

Formless wrote:
2017-10-18 04:32pm


As for Myers, did I say that I agree with him? No, I believe I used him as an example of how this article is not the only place you see this sentiment about New Atheism being expressed, Myers has written about it many times. But besides that, I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Everything I know about him suggests he's basically a feminist and an outspoken critic of the Evo-psych bullshit MRA's frequently use to justify their idiocy.
Richard Carrier is one of the Founders of Atheism Plus IIRC. Since you later mentioned Atheism +, its only natural Kane makes a dig against its founder. And although Kane and I will most likely disagree on most things, he does have a point about Carrier. As for PZ Meyers, he may have contributed to his field of embryology, but he has also done some shitty things which undermines his intellectual honesty. Like a blog post accusing someone of rape (where the accuser is not named so the accused has no way to defend himself). This is hearsay and one of the better arguments Thunderf00t makes against people who identify as feminists.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-10-19 07:15am

Just a question about Islamophobia

At what point does criticism against Islam becomes more than just criticism and Islamophobia?
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-10-19 08:01am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
2017-10-18 07:12am
My experiences here in the Smartest Board in the Internet ( :lol: ) - from seeing the War on Terror jingoism, the rah Star Trek is socialist go Star Wars stormtroopers, to heck people going "drop rocks on blue alienoids" from Baen Books-fapping dour as fuck milwankers who'd die if they go outside the bounds of hyper-militarized sci-fi/fiction - and encounters with redpill rightwing subculture elsewhere... makes me amenable to the article's gist.
My own honest impression is that at least on this forum, we see the "drop rocks on blue alienoids" crowd getting mobbed and yelled at rather than supported, and the redpill types don't even bother to show up.

I'm not saying the "angry nerd whose anger makes him susceptible to right-wing bullshit that appeals to his frustrated testosterone and sense of intellectual superiority" demographic isn't real, mind you.

But:

1) I don't think it's remotely accurate to say that those guys moved as a whole to the alt-right.

2) I don't like the attitude that we can just push a few 'nerd stereotype' buttons and use them to prove anything we want about anybody. Among other things, because creating a culture where the left gets bonus points when it decides to make fun of nerds is going to be bad in the long run
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
2017-10-18 08:30am
I can get that the article may be fudging the "demographic taxonomy" since it'd be like saying how the "new atheists have become all libertarians" when that's not necessarily so and when others could easily say that these godless sodomites have fueled the left. It's generalizing the phenomenon as a one-sided thing when the 2000s-era/Bush-era internet argumentativeness and militant debates over religion disseminated to BOTH the redpill and what detractors would call "SJWs" or tumblristas now dominating the conversation.
This.
Then again, knowing the likes of Curtis Saxon and Stuart Slade and the dregs at HPCA... "Balls said Lt so and so"... we can all admit that it's a very real current/flow. The article might be too one-dimensional, but that dimension or facet DOES exist.
Yeah, but it's like trying to compress all feminism into the one-dimensional "look at these cases of people being slandered and humiliated unfairly by Tumblr feminists" and spending all your time going lolololol about Ess-Jay-Double-Yous without actually bothering to engage or discuss with any feminist arguments of substance. It's so convenient a way of avoiding having to pay serious attention to someone whose opinions you dislike that it just seems... wrong... to me.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Dragon Angel » 2017-10-19 08:52am

On Thunderf00t and intellectual "honesty", let's clear the record on why many consider him not just dishonest in a flagrant "no context is the BEST context" manner and more, but also an absolute creepazoid:



(video also happens to contain relevant information re: Sarkeesian)
mr friendly guy wrote:
2017-10-19 07:15am
Just a question about Islamophobia

At what point does criticism against Islam becomes more than just criticism and Islamophobia?
When criticism of Islam is less of "these scriptures don't quite make sense" and becomes much more of "this religion is a death cult and its followers want to chainsaw kids and take over the world".
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-10-19 09:58am

Both sides have engaged in intellectual dishonesty, which is why I keep an eye out on them (or used to) but don't identify as either.

Lets be realistic. Thunderf00t says his opponents arguments suck, his opponents take the conflict off youtube into life outside of YT. Laughing Witch the self styled leader of the SJWs on youtube, (yes she self identifies as an SJW) tried to get him fired and arrested for being a "Nazi" while he was working in the Czech republic. Jenny McDermott accused Armored Skeptic of being a paedophile (I guess when rape accusations aren't enough). The reason for this paedophile claim was he was dating another youtuber (Shoe on Head) and she alleged SOH was under the age of consent (she was in her 20s at the time and she did not look underage in her videos).

Both sides have done plenty of shit (Sargon of Akkad springs to mind with his "I wouldn't even rape you statement" and his BS justification of it), but this article only makes it sound like only the "anti SJW" side engage in intellectual dishonesty. Now there are some "new atheists," who do take it a bit far, but Thunderf00t only takes the feud into the real world when his opponents do it first.
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Dragon Angel » 2017-10-19 10:58am

mr friendly guy wrote:
2017-10-19 09:58am
Both sides have done plenty of shit (Sargon of Akkad springs to mind with his "I wouldn't even rape you statement" and his BS justification of it), but this article only makes it sound like only the "anti SJW" side engage in intellectual dishonesty. Now there are some "new atheists," who do take it a bit far, but Thunderf00t only takes the feud into the real world when his opponents do it first.
It's a weak defense however if the best defense you can think of for Thunderf00t is "but the other side does it too!"

I mean, the other people you mentioned on the so-called "SJW" side are people I haven't even heard of, one of them a very quick google search revealing she would be a "literally kill all men" straw type which pretty much all the feminists I know and have seen don't seriously and unironically believe in. So, as far as I know, it's like taking a two-bit no-name with the most extreme views possible, and representing them as a pillar of feminist thought--which by comparison to Thunderf00t's reach in antifeminist circles doesn't remotely equal.

I'd also like to know when Anita took any fight with Thunderf00t into the "real world". As shown in the video I linked, Thunderf00t decided to make a complete ad hominem attack on Anita's fashion choice in response to her feminist observations. Where has Anita done similar?
Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-19 10:07am
I think that blacks are stupid, the Mexicans lazy and the Japanese are smart and if you omit the part where I totally praised the Japanese you are cherrypicking. :D
You know, if you were paying attention in class, you'd know that positive discrimination is also something that is heavily critiqued. But thanks for revealing your racist tendencies nevertheless.
Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-19 10:07am
Her videos are an unending stream of Victorian Era busybody bullshit trying to masquerade as fighting for female empowerment. This is harmful, that is problematic. Evidence? Just listen and believe.
Ah, so in other words you have no evidence whatsoever. You're really bad at this.
Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-19 10:07am
Oh but yeah Thunderf00t quoted her out of context with her "everything is racist everything is sexist comment". Of course full context is that she was telling how she couldn't stop herself from pointing it out making her obnoxious until she learned to control herself not that she was actually wrong.
Nice try though.
:lol: Personal growth and character development are things that don't exist in your world, do they? Must be utterly sad to live in such a cynical brain.
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And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Dragon Angel » 2017-10-19 11:24am

Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-19 11:16am
Still not cherry picking to omit the last part of the quote though. Anymore than Thunderf00t not including her praise of certain video game characters in the face of overwhelming negativity was. It's instructive to see how much it takes to be labeled by you though. Really puts your condemnation of Thunderf00t into perspective. :D
If you think omitting the last part of that quote was not cherry picking or out of context quote mining, then I don't believe you are nearly as rational as you purport to be.
Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-19 11:16am
You've got it backwards. She is making the claim that sexy women in video games are harmful. It's up to her to prove it. She is complaining about male gaze in video games. It's up to her to show why that is harmful for society. Nice try of shifting the burden of proof though. Pretty sure that was never tried before.
Dude, I'm way before you there. The video I linked already answered your ridiculous assertion of her claim. :D The burden of proof has been on you from the start, you just keep loving to never actually address what people are asking of you. Which well, I do think is against the rules on this forum.
Kane Starkiller wrote:
2017-10-19 11:16am
Suuuure suuure that is the intended takeaway of that "systems of oppression" talk. This is why she is complaining that Catwoman's ass is not covered by a cape like Batman's ass is. Because she grew and developed as a person. Oh what a cynical person I am. And with racist tendencies to boot! :D
Yaaaaaaaaaawn.....
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And my head I'd be scratchin', while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain!
I would not be just a nothin', my head all full of stuffin', my heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain!"

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Re: New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs

Post by Formless » 2017-10-19 05:31pm

mr friendly guy wrote:Richard Carrier is one of the Founders of Atheism Plus IIRC. Since you later mentioned Atheism +, its only natural Kane makes a dig against its founder. And although Kane and I will most likely disagree on most things, he does have a point about Carrier. As for PZ Meyers, he may have contributed to his field of embryology, but he has also done some shitty things which undermines his intellectual honesty. Like a blog post accusing someone of rape (where the accuser is not named so the accused has no way to defend himself). This is hearsay and one of the better arguments Thunderf00t makes against people who identify as feminists.
I repeat:
If you have nothing but ad hominems to bring to the discussion, you can fuck right off.
That applies to any claim that "so-and-so feminist did X, therefore Phil is right about all feminists."
Just a question about Islamophobia

At what point does criticism against Islam becomes more than just criticism and Islamophobia?
At the point where your criticism leaves the realm of abstraction or facts and into hysteria and stereotyping? Or perhaps you want me to post a formal definition? I don't really want to google this for you, because I'm not going to bother generating my own. But what I have observed of the New Atheists when it comes to Islam is: they seem to reflexively dismiss accusations of Islamophobia on Free Speech grounds or claim that it is automatically an Ad Hominim or Straw Man, rather than honestly discussing the accusation on its own merits. When one realizes that most of these atheists are white, western men from a college educated background you realize that they are speaking from a position of privilege. That is always a red flag, and I admit that it has to be true of myself as well. BUT at least I admit to it and try to actively address the problem with knowledge. I legitimately wonder how many actual Muslims they have talked to and not tried to argue with. It can be very telling to just talk to people of other faiths and set aside your criticisms long enough to learn what they truly believe in rather than assuming, or unintentionally blow dog whistles to call apologists to spar with. If you do, you miss the real diversity in their opinions. Even reading their holy books isn't necessarily enough to criticize the religion as it is actually practiced. Religion is a social phenomenon, and what people actually believe is often a product of the faith group they surround themselves with. I don't mean the religion as a whole demographic, but the actual Mosque, Church, or temple that they attend. No one would assume that a black Baptist church has the same social beliefs as a huge white Evangelical megachurch. The actual group is very different between the two, and so to can it be among Muslims. So when Muslims say that theirs is a religion of peace, I at least think most of them honestly believe it-- human beings are amazing at compartmentalizing ideas and cherrypicking good from bad within a religion or ideology.

But you wouldn't know it from how some of these New Atheists talk.
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