Pages

Monday, November 24, 2014

What is the New Atheism?

Here's a piece I wrote for an on-line community of which I am a part, on the New Atheism.  Input is welcome.



What is the New Atheism? 


What is Atheism? Atheism is best defined as the belief that there is no God or gods. “A” is a Greek prefix meaning “not,” while “theos”was used by the Greeks for both God and the gods. (It is important to keep these concepts distinct, since in Greek as in other pagan religions, the polytheistic “gods” are conceptually far removed from God as conceived not only in Christianity but even by “pagan” theists. The “gods” are birthed and therefore dependent, limited in knowledge and wisdom, local, and possessed of lust, jealousy, ignorance, etc. Making a clear distinction draws the force of the New Atheist “We just believe in one less god” and the “Outsider Test for Faith.”)

It is incorrect to define atheism as “lack of a belief in God,” which would make not only babies atheists, but presumably Laborador Retrievers, redwood trees, and slabs of petrified wood. Atheism is the positive denial that such a being as God exists. However, in Christian psychology (St. Paul, Paul Vitz, Jay Budziszewski), one should keep in mind that a person can deny on one level of his being what he knows or affirms on another. This inner conflict may, indeed, explain some of the pique for which many atheists are famous, and why apologetics alone seldom persuades. Some atheists appear not only conflicted, but angry, wounded, and in Promethean or sexual rebellion against the God they claim to disbelieve (Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Sanger, being interesting case studies). Wise apologists should keep all this in mind, but also keep both ears and their hearts open, while engaging atheists on the intellectual level. (Self-declared atheists typically having a high level of education in western society, as is typical of religious minorities -- see Rodney Stark.)

What is the New Atheism? Beginning with Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006, then books by Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, a wave of anti-religious and especially anti-Christian sentiments struck the collective consciousness of the English-speaking world like a tsunami. (Presaged, one might say, by the likes of Carl Sagan.) This movement has since broadened and includes a large number of other thinkers (and, yes, thoughtless ranters).

Some have sought to deny that “There is anything new about the New Atheism.” However, the following traits do tend to characterize this movement, and distinguish it not absolutely, but relatively, from most other forms of atheism:




(1) New Atheists (or “Gnus”) both attempt to refute old arguments for God and offer old and new arguments against God. Most of these seem a bit “seat of the pants,” since Gnus typically do not bother to study the prior conversation in great depth.  (It being a conceit of Dr. Carrier that theology is too silly to bother studying, a meme that has multiplied.)



(2) Indeed, intellectual immodesty and self-confidence typify the movement to an often astounding extent. This is often fueled by the conceit that “we rational thinkers” (Dennett promoted the term “bright”) are inherently more reasonable than those befuddled by religious “memes.” This in turn is often undergirded by blind adulation of “Science” without defining and recognizing its historical roots in theology (Medieval and even ancient Greek), its cognitive dependence on philosophy, or its practical dependence on history (all scientific experiments that we cite were carried out in the past, by fallible human observers and their machines).



(3) One of the New Atheism’s most pervasive themes is that religious belief is based on “blind faith.” Gnus often seem to positively refuse to learn what Christians really mean by faith, and revel in erroneous conceptions, by citing a few well-known quotes from Tertullian, Pascal, Kierkegaard, or (even more out of context), Jesus to Thomas, or a couple lines in Hebrews 11. Thus many Gnu books refer to “Faith” in the sense of "believing not only without evidence, but against the evidence" in their titles.



(4) Most Gnus are Secular Humanists, and there is therefore a strong moral dimension to their critique of Christianity. Christians are not only wrong, it is dreadfully harmful, they allege. Thus they tend to offer an exceedingly dark interpretation of Christian history, attempt to blame Christians for Hitler (Hector Avalos), and ignore all the good Christianity has done. (Which they seldom know anyway, since it seldom appears in text books.)



(5) New Atheists generally depend on a liberal Jesus spin (Jesus Seminar, Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman). Some have also developed their own theories, for instance Richard Carrier's (failing) recent attempt to make mythicism respectable academically.



(6) New Atheists tend to express fear of the political power of Christians, up to the danger of “theocracy,” especially in the United States. Originally this was stated in the context of Islamic theocracy in the Middle East and elsewhere, and 9/11, and the rise of New Atheism may in part trace to an attempt to draw a parallel between the two religions. Most but not all “Gnus” seem to belong to the political Left in the US, especially the left wing of the Democrat Party, with outliers bunched among the socialist left, and among the libertarian-leaning right.  This often lends a strong political element to discussions between American Christians and their secular opponents, with an underto of sexual Promethianism. 

Books For: Aside from the “Four Horsemen” named above, some influential New Atheists or affiliated skeptics include Hector Avalos, Richard Carrier, Greta Christiana, Stephen Law (perhaps), John Loftus, Bill Maher, PZ Myers, John Paulos, Michael Shermer . . .

Rebuttals by CAA Members: David Marshall, The Truth Behind the New Atheism (2007), Tom Gilson & Carson Weitnauer, ed, plus other CAA members, True Reason (2013)

Other good rebuttals: Tim Keller, John Lennox, Dinesh D’Souza, (personally not very excited over Alister McGrath’s two books on subject.)

23 comments:

Rizdek said...

I'm not sure what the point of your post is beyond an academic discussions. Do you think the person who simply lacks a belief in god should call themselves something other than antheist?

David B Marshall said...

And I, in turn, don't see your point. Are you not interested in the topic? Then why did you read the article?

I explain above why calling anyone who lacks a belief in God an "atheist" is wrong. So where do I go wrong?

Tige Gibson said...

>However, in Christian psychology,...a person can deny on one level of his being what he knows or affirms on another.

Why do you attribute this to Christian psychology, a perversion of honest psychology, while deniers are predominantly Christian reacting to the empirical world. You might find yourself on the right track if you devoted your research only to psychology, the actual difference in psychology between the believer when he comes to believe and the unbeliever when he ceases to believe.

>why apologetics alone seldom persuades

Again, apologetics are unconvincing because of the absence of evidence. Apologists are only motivated to respond to evidence, but they are disadvantaged by having no evidence of their own. Apologetics itself is just a game no one outside it cares about, its the stuff that apologists react to that is actually of interest to everyone.

>Some atheists appear not only conflicted, but angry, wounded,...(Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Sanger

Who are the real atheists you are analyzing? Just these dead men? If you actually read Nietzsche or Freud, there is something they are trying to tell you about how you read into their writing what you want to find. They were absolutely not struggling with a lingering belief in God, nor are any atheists today. These are your own fears creeping out, the fears that are inevitable in a person of faith.

Tige Gibson said...

>What is the New Atheism? Beginning with Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in 2006, then books by Sam Harris, Dan Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens,

"New Atheism" is an expression created by self-identified "agnostics" in response to those men who were called the Four Horsemen. Agnosticism is so deeply rooted in fear, primarily the fear of reprisal by Christians, you may as well call them cowardly atheists as they are always kissing the feet of Christians. Their goal is to make Christians, such as you, comfortable with atheism, and they have no problem misrepresenting atheism specifically so that Christians, again, you, misrepresent atheism. Congratulations on being suckered. Actual atheists, such as myself and most others, have been around since long before Richard Dawkins and company became well known and we are just not scared of "offending" Christians regardless of how much power they have. Honest atheists regard getting offended as a weakness of the person who claims to be offended.

(1) New (as in just deconverted) Atheists feel compelled to learn because they were mostly raised by ignorant Christian parents who isolated them from the secular world, from even the notion that there is any criticism of Christianity at all. This theological exercise is of course a waste of time, but Richard Carrier isn't responsible for this "meme". It's been around for a long time. You only need to think of it as a "conceit" because you (no one really) don't have any good reason for studying theology instead. There are lots of things you can do to preserve your faith, but theology is actually the least honest of them all because you already know there is no basis in it from the start. And no one ever became Christian because of apologetics.

(2) Maybe you really can't tell the difference between "new" as in someone who just discovered atheism from the "Gnu" nonsense handed to you by cowardly atheists kissing your feet. Dennett promoted the term “bright” quite a long time ago and almost no one accepted it, yet Christians listening to their agnostic lackeys seem to think the expression is popular somewhere. This is not secret, but you act like you've come by this intelligence from spies. They aren't spies, they're cowards.

You literally believe modern “Science” is a branch of theology? Not only do you not know what atheism is you do not know what science is, nor do you know what philosophy is.

>all scientific experiments that we cite were carried out in the past, by fallible human observers and their machines).

You are defending a young earth creationist argument. If this reasoning were legitimate you could use it to rationalize literally anything.

(3) How can someone who had faith in the past not understand what that was like? Faith is the psychological impediment to things you don't want to be so. You just have to have that experience. You want to dismiss what others say of faith, but you can't honestly say what it is to you yourself.

(4) We "allege" using real world examples such as wars in the Middle East, shot abortion doctors, medical care being denied, but the most long term harm comes from science being chased out of schools and what that really means for future generations.

It has actually been a Christian tradition to blame atheists for Hitler and Stalin, Communism in general, and many others, not the other way around. You knew that right? You're just being blatantly dishonest and self-serving here. When Christians perform charity, it is an act, to prop up Christianity, to sell the message. That's what you are doing now, just without the charity, not even in a literary sense.

Tige Gibson said...

(5) Doesn't it occur to you that the fact that you can spin Jesus weakens his historical value? The way I look at it is to look at Robin Hood from the libertarian perspective. No one does that. Robin Hood was not a historical person by any stretch, but it's harder to twist Robin Hood than Jesus Christ for political utility.

(6) Christians have and abuse political power in the most militarily powerful nation on Earth. The creators of the idea of "New Atheism" are truly fearful of that real Christian power, so much so that they have fatalistically given up on the idea that Christianity could lose that power. They were never afraid of Islam. Two groups are afraid of Islam: Christians and racists, and these groups mostly overlap. In Europe, Christianity is insignificant, but there is still racism, it's just that that form of racism can't hold up some absolute moral defense of racism the way Christianity can. What's really funny is how you seem surprised that atheists in the U.S. would be reluctant to join a political party so completely bent by Christian power, and think there is a political motivation lurking under there somewhere.

The fact that it took three comments to respond should tell you how wrong you are, but I'm sure you knew that already before you posted this.

David B Marshall said...

Tige: "Honest psychology" of course follows Christian psychology in recognizing that people often admit things on one level of their minds while denying them on another. Do you really deny that, or are you trying to change the subject?

Christian apologists have offered tons of evidence for their faith. William Lane Craig offers a variety of persuasive arguments in his (almost always victorious, to most of those who listen) debates, many of which have been fleshed out in more detail by other scholars. In my new book (see recent post), I offer four more arguments for Christianity, and have offered others in the past. I have read thousands of pages of such evidence. Why should it impress me when an unknown poster, who may or may not have read any of it, claims there is "no" such evidence?

Well it does impress me, with your non self-critical ignorance.

For example, Sangar was not a man.

"No atheists" suffer from lingering faith today? Good to meet you, God Almighty, who can read all minds. But some modern atheists have ADMITTED they had been conflicted as I say, after they convert. Again, you display both ignorance and arrogance.

Who first came up with the term "New Atheism," I am not sure, and I doubt you know either, since you offer no citations. But did you know that Victor Stenger wrote a book defending the New Atheism? It's call The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason. He's not the only one. Why don't you teach yourself how to express your opinions with more nuance and caution?

I'm not sure where you find me defending "Young Earth Creation."

Nor do you seem to know what I think about the alleged atheism of Hitler and Stalin. Of course Stalin was an atheist, while Hitler was probably not. I criticized Dinesh D'Souza for claiming Hitler was an atheist. Why do you let your mouth run on, when you don't know what you're talking about? Let me be blunt. You come off, in these three posts, as an arrogant, ignorant jerk, making confident, sweeping and often nasty claims about matters and people you don't seem to understand very well.

Do you make many friends, this way?

David B Marshall said...

No one is afraid of Islamists except for Christians and racists? Really? So Jews must mostly be racists, because they don't like getting attacked with rockets by people who want to destroy their state? And Hindus must be racist? And Chinese are racist, too? And there is no objective reason to fear radical Islam? What kind of reality-denying lunacy is that?

"The borders of Islam are bloody," wrote Samuel Huntington. That is objectively true. It is not an invention of Christians or racists. And it has been generally true for 1400 years, now.

Tige Gibson said...

>"Honest psychology" of course follows Christian psychology in recognizing that people often admit things on one level of their minds while denying them on another.

Christian psychology mocks genuine psychology for one simple fact: the father of psychology was an atheist Jew. Who are you trying to fool pretending that psychology was invented by Christians?

>William Lane Craig

The only argument Craig is actually known for is something called Kalam's cosmological argument (note that it is not Craig's cosmological argument, Ilm al-Kalam is an Islamic religious tradition). This argument has been thoroughly and repeatedly refuted on multiple grounds.

>I offer four more arguments for Christianity

Without knowing what they are I guarantee you two things: they are not new or even original and they lack the one crucial ingredient to be even slightly convincing: a relation to reality.

>I have read thousands of pages of such evidence.

Evidence is something that relates to reality, so these "readings" of yours refer to actual things which presently exist somewhere?

>Why should it impress me when an unknown poster, who may or may not have read any of it, claims there is "no" such evidence?

I'm not the one claiming there is no evidence. The atheist community as a whole has been asking for evidence for centuries and it has yet to be forthcoming. You claim to have it. If true, that would make you the first Christian in history, you'll be world famous and every atheist will bow at your feet for proving us wrong.

>But some modern atheists have ADMITTED they had been conflicted as I say, after they convert. Again, you display both ignorance and arrogance.

Deconvert: atheism isn't a faith. What you are referring to isn't a lingering faith in God. In the near term after admitting to self-deception we can't help but try to rationalize our past behavior by saying to ourselves that there might have been something, but clearly not the Christian God, but something. Eventually we come to understand what that was.

>Who first came up with the term "New Atheism," I am not sure, and I doubt you know either, since you offer no citations.

http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/atheism.html

Here you go: the very first instance of the expression "New Atheism" coined by a self-confessed "agnostic" (second paragraph) or what we like to call them, cowardly atheists who kiss the feet of those poor underprivileged Christians. Do you feel embarrassed yet? I mean, you wrote this post and didn't even try to find that actually very well known article or even any of the responses to it.

>But did you know that Victor Stenger wrote a book defending the New Atheism? It's call The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason. He's not the only one. Why don't you teach yourself how to express your opinions with more nuance and caution?

Neither I nor Stenger nor anyone else is ashamed of being labelled by cowards. The most brilliant thing you can do is wear a label given to you as an insult with pride. "New Atheism" is supposed to refer to those mean nasty strident atheists who give Christian privilege no quarter and it's true, I'm not nice to Christians. You don't deserve it just because you're Christian, you have to earn it. Some "New Atheists" use the expression "Gnu Atheist" because it shows that we are having fun and most certainly not mean and nasty and absolutely not physically dangerous.

Tige Gibson said...

I forgot to mention something about Hitler and Stalin. I said before that it's Christian tradition to accuse them of being atheists as a way to discredit atheism and this is true, but the real point is that atheism doesn't inform the behavior of Stalin. It can't. Atheism has no tenets.

Stalin was a Communist and Communism is very explicit about killing people (specifically the aristocracy), but both Hitler and Stalin killed Jews, which Communism doesn't dictate. Killing Jews is a Christian and Muslim tradition going back centuries, but it is rooted in one simple fact: if Christianity (or Islam) is true, then there should be no more Jews: they should have converted. It's impossible to justify killing Jews without the justifications provided by either Christianity or Islam. Atheism has no tenets at all, let alone commandments to kill anyone.

A lot of them did mind you, but it comes from the "Slippery Slope" fallacy. If only one Jew remains, it is a proof against Christianity and Islam. "Not even one." It's because faith rests only on faith and nothing else.

Conversely, Jews have fought harder to survive because of the suffering they've been put through. The worse you do to anyone the harder he is going to try to survive. The Jews just might have disappeared if it weren't for Christians and Muslims always trying to kill them.

David B Marshall said...

Tige: We welcome adult comment here. I don't see that from you. I see this, instead:

Me: "'Honest psychology' of course follows Christian psychology in recognizing that people often admit things on one level of their minds while denying them on another."

Your response: "Christian psychology mocks genuine psychology for one simple fact: the father of psychology was an atheist Jew. Who are you trying to fool pretending that psychology was invented by Christians?"

Of course I said nothing of the sort. And of course you do not even touch on my actual point. Either you're dishonest, or you are incapable of reading and honestly understanding what an adult writes. In either case, this is not the forum for your immature ramblings. You've already disqualified yourself as a serious poster, capable of adding to the discussion, so I'm going to delete your second post without reading it (or much of the first), and suggest you find a forum more suitable for your style.

Have a Merry Christmas.

David B Marshall said...

Tige reveals himself above as being a fundamentally dishonest poster, by grossly misrepresenting what I say. That justifies my deleting one of his posts here, and suggesting that he post elsewhere. It also explains his bombastic comments in earlier posts.

I will leave his comment about Stalin above, though, since it exposes common misunderstandings:

" . . . the real point is that atheism doesn't inform the behavior of Stalin. It can't. Atheism has no tenets."

Of course atheism has one tenet -- there is no God. That's what "atheism" means -- see above.

I admit that if atheism is nothing, then it cannot effect anything. But if it is nothing, why does anyone espouse it? Clearly, denial of a belief also "informs behavior." If you deny gravity, you may step off a cliff. If you deny love, you put people in gas chambers. If you deny logic (could that be the problem?), you write stupid comments on my web site.

So it is a non sequitur, to say that because atheism is a negative, rather than positive, belief, it can't effect behavior. Of course it can. And atheists themselves have often made this point.

"Killing Jews is a Christian and Muslim tradition going back centuries, but it is rooted in one simple fact: if Christianity (or Islam) is true, then there should be no more Jews: they should have converted. It's impossible to justify killing Jews without the justifications provided by either Christianity or Islam."

If this is "impossible," then how have people without those justifications, including ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, and Romans, managed the trick? And why is persecution of the "Other" a universal human trait? Clearly, justifying ethnic murder is not only possible, it is easy. (Especially from an evolutionary perspective.)

"The Jews just might have disappeared if it weren't for Christians and Muslims always trying to kill them."

Here, Tige is actually onto something, however narrowly he argues. It IS true that conflict with surrounding nations has given the Jews, along with the Sikhs and Koreans, for examples, added incentive to band together and survive.

Tige Gibson said...

>Of course atheism has one tenet -- there is no God. That's what "atheism" means -- see above.

I am labelled an atheist, and I accept that label, because it defines me as a person who rejects the idea that gods are real, which is an accurate description. Atheism isn't a belief system, it doesn't have a set of commandments or rules or tenets, nor does it have leaders telling us those things, it's just a label used to describe people.

It's like the word bachelor. There are no tenets or rules for being a bachelor. You can do something such that the label doesn't apply to you anymore and you can pretend the label applies to you when it doesn't.

Christianity on the other hand has tenets. You can, for example, kill someone, and even though there is a tenet against doing that, you can still be a Christian after doing it.

>But if it is nothing, why does anyone espouse it?

I espouse the label "atheist" for two reasons: immediately after 9/11 most people who did not believe (unlabelled atheists) were afraid of the rise of Christian power and chose not to identify themselves for their own protection (they were cowards), and when a few people started to publicly identify themselves as atheists they were attacked for being strident, offensive, and inappropriate (as you accuse me), later dubbed "New Atheists" as a way to denigrate them.

I actually identified myself as an atheist well before 9/11 but that was because I had to deal with real Christians in my life who felt threatened by me so I had to make sure they knew that I was serious and knew what I was doing, not just "backsliding" or "live in sin" as they put it.

The personal stories of ex-Christians who lost friends and family are much more important than the trivial philosophical whining you do about your waning privilege.

>If you deny gravity, you may step off a cliff.

This assumption requires the implication that God exists. I am willing to risk eternal damnation in Hell for eternity, I am that sure it doesn't exist. I am just confident, not overconfident, and not cowardly.

>If you deny love, you put people in gas chambers.

Christians defined away love to sell something they call "Love"(TM) like a product. Jesus is not love, Jesus is "Love"(TM).

Atheism doesn't effect behavior, it's just a label. My lack of belief in Hell and the wrathful God who created it informs me not to react out of cowardly fear of those concepts.

On the other hand, when groups of people kill other groups of people, they are doing so on the basis that if they make a mistake, God will know His own, otherwise God's justice is meted out. When it came to Communists killing aristocrats, it was a matter of justice, but when they killed Jews, that was belief.

The truth is people who weren't faithful believed things about Jews based on tradition, not just because they were Christian or Muslim but because their parents or grandparents were. This is why we have to be more than just "atheists", we have to oppose all forms of discrimination whatever the origin. Anti-discrimination is not a tenet of atheism, but it's a better label for me, it doesn't inform people that Christianity is the greatest source and defender of discrimination an oppression in the world. Islam is up there, but not quite equal to Christianity because terrorism is still a reaction to Christian power.

Stephen Parrish said...

David, I spoke this summer with Richard Weikart at a Bioethics convention near Chicago. He is writing a book on Hitler's religion. He told me that Hitler is best thought of as a pantheist--that he worshiped nature. However, he also said, and from what I have read I agree, that Hitler's pantheism was really very close to atheism, perhaps not much more than a verbal distinction. Hitler apparently thought that the physical universe, or the laws by which it operates, was "God," but was not in any way a personal being. So calling Hitler an atheist is probably not too far off.

David B Marshall said...

Stephen: Maybe so, and Hitler was certainly influenced by lots of atheists. But it is better to be cautious with such claims -- well Weikart, as an historian in this field, can be more bold if he thinks the evidence warrants it -- especially in light of the one thing everyone agrees Hitler was: a liar.

Tige Gibson said...

I've studied Hitler and the Holocaust in great detail and I can say for sure that Christian faith was not significant to those events. The argument which arises time and again in the decades that followed, Christians accused atheism of somehow (through absence of "morality") causing Hitler and the Nazis to be compelled to commit the Holocaust. This probably was due to the Red Scare.

Within the context of Nazi Germany, they were desperate for any scapegoat to justify actions to validate their identity and overcome the economic depression exasperated by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Before starting any wars Hitler made effective economic policy which built up the military so they could win wars, and membership in the Nazi party grew more after he took power because party members were rewarded. Nazism itself was the state religion, much as Communism became the state religion in communist countries.

Unfortunately the only possible basis for the Holocaust can be the centuries of European Christian tradition of demonizing the Jews, which itself is based on the emotional reaction of the slippery slope which implies that if even one Jew has not converted to Christianity, either Christianity is at flawed or the Jews are. The harder Christians tried to force Jews to convert the firmer their conviction remained, which sharpened the dichotomy. Christians could not do anything about the fact that the OT is Jewish Scripture, and the majority of the NT is a story of a Jewish Rabbi and his Jewish followers.

The Holocaust didn't really begin until the initial invasion of Russia failed and this was when the Nazi Dream started to come undone. It was an irrational act of blind desperation. Crucial military resources were diverted to it more and more even as battles were being lost.

Stephen Parrish said...

While not denying that Christian Anti-Semitism was part of the background of Nazism, a new racial AS had arisen in the 19th century, which was non-Christian. See "Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible," by Joseph Keysor.

Anyway, I was merely responding to David's statement that Hitler was not an atheist.

I do agree that Nazism was a religion, though religion is a very hard term to define.

Tige Gibson said...

Scientific racism was developed by Christians in the 17th century, starting with Robert Boyle, as a pseudoscience to whitewash and rationalize longstanding antisemitism based on Christian tradition of hatred of the Jews, and to defend Christianity against atheists, Deists, and Muslims as well.

If Christians didn't already hate Jews and Muslims, race theories would not have been necessary. This is not coincidentally exactly the same way intelligent design theory developed in very recent history, so it shouldn't be in any way surprising. It also has the benefit of being attractive to people who don't identify as Christians because it is not too obviously Christian, but it actually undeniable is Christian.

To try to disassociate either race theory or intelligent design from Christianity is to ignore the real circumstances in which these theories were developed.

Stephen Parrish said...

"Scientific racism was developed by Christians in the 17th century, starting with Robert Boyle, as a pseudoscience to whitewash and rationalize longstanding antisemitism based on Christian tradition of hatred of the Jews, and to defend Christianity against atheists, Deists, and Muslims as well."

Evidence for this? At any rate, whatever its origin, racial AS didn't become big till the 19th century, when it developed mainly by non-Christians. For more on AS see Karla Poewe's "New Religions and the Nazis."

ID was developed by Christians, though one doesn't have to be a Christian to support it.

David B Marshall said...

As is his want, Tige is confused and incoherent in his rage:

"Scientific racism was developed by Christians in the 17th century, starting with Robert Boyle, as a pseudoscience to whitewash and rationalize longstanding antisemitism based on Christian tradition of hatred of the Jews, and to defend Christianity against atheists, Deists, and Muslims as well."

What, did Boyle consider atheists a "race?" Or deists? Or Muslims? If so, it couldn't have been very scientific.

I know he did leave part of the money in his will to instituting a lecture series REFUTING deists, atheists, etc.

Hmmn, googling "Robert Boyle" and "racism," though, I do find the Wikipedia article on "Scientific Racism." It credits the origins of scientific racism to the ancient pre-Christian world. It says Boyle believed all races came from one source. The article stresses the impact of Enlightenment philosophers on racism, like Voltaire, who scoffed at the biblical idea that humans were all related:

"It is a serious question among them whether the Africans are descended from monkeys or whether the monkeys come from them. Our wise men have said that man was created in the image of God. Now here is a lovely image of the Divine Maker: a flat and black nose with little or hardly any intelligence. A time will doubtless come when these animals will know how to cultivate the land well, beautify their houses and gardens, and know the paths of the stars: one needs time for everything.[14]

John Wesley, by sharp contrast, was keenly appreciative of the genius of Africans, and warned slavers of God's judgement in no uncertain terms.

Tige Gibson said...

I don't understand why you need me to prove anything to you, let alone something fairly easy to find out such as about Robert Boyle or the rise of

scientific racism. Sure, after Darwin published his theory, lots of new pseudoscientific theories suddenly latched on to it, but you can't pretend

that these theories are based on atheism (they weren't Darwin's ideas) and you can't pretend that scientific racism wasn't common before that because

there's lots of evidence there was and you can find it easily if you care to.

The people who abused Darwin's ideas weren't necessarily Christian. This is consistent with what goes on today where you have crackpots using

scientific news as a basis for ongoing fraud. I don't need to pin Deepak Chopra on Christianity or vice versa. But Christianity has always and

continues to nurture pseudoscientific ideas of any progeny in their desperate struggle against real science. It's not uncommon to hear Chopraism

coming out of a Christian mouth, and the Christian doesn't know where it came from, only that it sounds good to his cause. It is a pretense to focus

on non-Christian sources of pseudoscience. Within the actual scientific community those ideas are consistently rejected, but wherever the ideas come

from Christians will use them.

Karla Poewe is no different than many other authors who try to distinguish common Germans who joined the Party from its ideological roots. A

description of National Socialism as a movement can't be constrained by the beliefs of people who may or may not have even been significant to it

without looking at how the leaders actually gained supporters: carefully programmed rallies. This is typically what people are getting at when they

say that Nazi ideology was banal: very ordinary Germans carried it out like any ordinary job, and this somehow excuses them. In my own research, the

popularity of the Nazis was the result of their economic policy more than anything else. That's a train everyone wanted to ride and no one wanted to

think much about its moral justification after what they themselves had been suffering before Hitler came to power. Christianity didn't factor into

it except as historical traditional background and no more important than neopaganism.

I've never had any belief that Christianity was important to Hitler specifically or Nazis in general. The more research you do the less sense that

makes. It's actually a reflexive idea from the tradition of Christians trying to pin the work of the Nazis on atheism. And it still seems like you

are trying to associate atheism with the Holocaust right now while asking me to prove my position that this is exactly what you are doing. You want

proof look, just at your own behavior.

David B Marshall said...

I didn't expect Tige to back up his accusation against Robert Boyle, and the Christian tradition, and he has fulfilled my (lack of) expectation. The rest is empty blather.

Tige Gibson said...

If you really need me to do your work for you, then I refer you to Robert Boyle's "Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours." Experiment XI is the relevant section and shows all I need to establish his place as founder of scientific racism.

Here's a link to the document:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14504/14504-h/14504-h.htm

You will probably find nothing wrong there, and that would convince me you are a racist. This document established race as a valid object of study.

Robert Boyle was governor of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, an organization which owned slaves in Barbados. Boyle wrote several papers regarding conversion of slaves to Christianity and defending slavery as an institution which helped the spread of Christianity. Both SPG and the organization founded in his will targeted slaves explicitly for conversion.

David, you seem to be the poor contributor to your own blog. Just as with the article on New Atheism, the evidence is out there, you just choose not to look for it and blame others for not doing it for you.

David B Marshall said...

Tige: You're a moron. After several challenges, you haven't offered a single quote to back up your claim that Boyle "founded scientific racism." All you offer is stupid insults.

The owning of slaves was not, of course, an innovation.