An animation of the interaction inside a neutron. Mostly unrelated, but cool.
ETA: The link to the article I was fisking. Oops!
I would like to begin this by pointing out that "New Atheist" is a code phrase, not an honest descriptive. There is no such thing as "new" atheism. Atheism is the lack of a god belief, nothing more. There hasn't been anything new in atheism since ever. Anything other than a lack of god belief is not atheism.
"New Atheism"/"New Atheist" refers to atheists speaking their minds, writing books and blog posts, wearing T-shirts and putting stickers on their cars and generally being exactly as open and vocal as Christians are in the US. So, of course, we're "rude", "shrill", "angry", "bitter" awful people who need to shut the fuck up and leave the talking to the Christians. Cuz, you know, privilege.
Anyway, here's a fun post:
This is why I don't--why I can't--agree with the so-called New Atheists. Yes, some people's religions lead them to believe demonstrably false statements, such as that the Earth is 6,000 years old, you can cure cancer with acupuncture, or prayer can change the path of a hurricane. These people are wrong and should be argued with, as well as pitied. And yes, some people use their religions to justify causing great harm and suffering. These people are assholes and should be opposed.
But most religious people, which is to say most people, don't. Nothing in their religion leads them to believe anything demonstrably false, or that ever could be demonstrably false. There is thus no meaningful sense in which atheism is more or less objective, or more or less correct, than any of a host of religious worldviews, and most of the arguments otherwise are strawmen. True, atheism is more parsimonious, but parsimony is a standard of the scientific method; there is no particular reason to insist on it in other endeavors.
That raises a whole host of questions. Are you capable of agreeing with old atheists, you know, the quiet, in-the-shadows, hope-nobody-finds-out atheists? Are they just a little easier to take? Yeah, fun.
But this, Nothing in their religion leads them to believe anything demonstrably false, or that ever could be demonstrably false, is a thing of beauty. Not one thing. Not one thing in their religion leads them to believe anything demonstrably false.
That actually cannot be true. See, the author never specifies a certain religion, though I suppose he meant Christianity. But he does not specify. Therefore, he says that this is true for Christians and Shintoists and animists and Muslims and pagans and Jews and Hindus and Zoroastrians and everybody else.
Suppose the atheists - whether new, old, medium, well done, beer battered and fried- are wrong. Suppose there is a divine force that created the universe, a divine force we refer to as god(s). So simply believing in god would not be demonstrably wrong. But religion goes a little further than simply "Hey, there's a god!" If I am a Muslim, I believe entirely different things about the nature of God(s) and what he/they expect(s) from me than a Hindu does. My religion requires that I believe these things. If I don't believe these things, I am not Muslim or Hindu.
In other words, even if there is/are (a) god(s)*, most people are believing something demonstrably false. They have to be.
But, let's disallow the existence of unproven god(s). I am, after all, an atheist, so I don't believe in any of that. Let's reexamine the statement that Nothing in their religion leads them to believe anything demonstrably false, or that ever could be demonstrably false. First of all, the previous statement is Yes, some people's religions lead them to believe demonstrably false statements, such as that the Earth is 6,000 years old, you can cure cancer with acupuncture, or prayer can change the path of a hurricane.
So, really, I think this is more about pushing Christians the author considers embarrassing away from hir own faith than anything else. There's no real need to bring up atheists new, near, far, where ever you are, into this at all, unless you're going for what all siblings recognize as the double blameshift: It wasn't me and zie's worse! Those other Christians believe ridiculous things that have nothing to do with Christianity (though they'll totally say it does), and anyway, atheists are ridiculous, too. I'm totally reasonable.
I get it. Nobody wants to be associated with some asshole saying that Japan totally deserved what they got because they don't worship the right god the right way. But you know what the difference is between me and the author? I don't deny that guy is a US citizen just like I am. I'm not happy about it, but I don't verbally decitizenize him to make myself feel better.
I also get that believers must feel a bit put upon when they read (up down charm strange top bottom) atheists' writings asking for proof and stuff. "Hey, can you prove you love your wife? Then don't ask me to prove god and the afterlife and miracles." Yeah, that's asinine. Stop asserting stuff you can't prove. And if being asked to do so makes you feel all sad inside, well, I don't know what to tell you. I wouldn't believe you flapped your arms and flew to work without proof, either, so don't feel too bad.
Perhaps, though, I am missing the point. Perhaps the proof is in the adverb pudding**. Nothing in their religion leads them to believe anything demonstrably false, or that ever could be demonstrably false.
Demonstrably. Hmmm . . . I'd have to demonstrate the beliefs are false. Haha! Tricky! But not. Suppose I tell you that I have the cure to cancer in this coffee cup. I would imagine you'd want me to demonstrate that the substance in my cup actually cures cancer, wouldn't you? Would you be convinced if I told you that I'm not going to do that, but you can't prove that it doesn't? I would hope not. I would hope that you would go about your day, secure in the knowledge that I do not have the cure to cancer in a coffee cup.
That's what the less strident god belief is, really. I can't prove there isn't a god, so there is one. Take that atheists! You can't demonstrate I'm wrong, so I must be right! I'm in ur logic syllogizing ur statements!
Right now, I'm an eye-rolling atheist, but hardly new.
*I have been typing so many legal documents. So many. All the parens look normal to me at this point.