Daily Archives: 2015-10-09 22:31:11 UTC

Why the War between New Atheists and Other (“Progressive”) Atheists?

The Kyle Kulinski-Glenn Greenwald exchange arose as a response to Kyle’s earlier video calling for a “cease fire” between New Atheists and other atheists. This post backtracks and looks at that video before resuming the Glenn Greenwald exchange.

During the exchange we were advised to view Kyle’s earlier video, New Atheists Vs Progressives — Proposing A Ceasefire, the one that Glenn Greenwald was responding to specifically. So I dutifully paused to check it out and was glad I did.

I’ll start with Kyle’s proposals in that video before presenting another paraphrase/transcript of Glenn G’s subsequent remarks and commentary.

Kyle wishes that both sides, New Atheists and others he calls Progressives, would

abide

His argument sounds mathematically reasonable. If we agree with someone on a dozen key points that are very important to both of us and disagree on only one other one, then surely we should not be pouring scorn upon each other as if the other is beyond the pale.

Glenn Greenwald’s response demolished that point’s mathematical certainty, however. If I agree with Picklzanjam on feminist issues, gay rights, religion-is-bad, beer-is-good, etc etc etc etc — but after ticking all those check boxes Picklzanjam says he is also a white supremacist racist, then I’m not going to treat him as a good buddy I can get along with just because we agree on all of the other issues.

Kyle appeared to understand this point but later he wanted to push home his belief that people like Sam Harris are not really extremist in any of their views. I will return to that objection later when I cite Glenn G’s views on that view.

Second, Kyle wishes critics of the New Atheists would….

criticize

Here’s where I part company, to some extent, with a number of other atheists who are more activist in their critical stance against religion. Firstly I need to say I wish people did not feel a need for religion. Second, on a personal level I think religion sucks for a whole range of reasons. Third, I particularly deplore fundamentalist type cults and organizations for the particular harms that they can do — people literally die because of their teachings and practices, and some suffer the pain of a living death as a result of other practices and teachings. read more »