Are they all just grifters?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 4 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #38220

    Unseen
    Participant

    This Salon article accuses all the top “New Atheists” of engaging in a big con game that is anything but liberal in nature:

    Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right

    • This topic was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #38222

    _Robert_
    Participant

    This Salon article accuses all the top “New Atheists” of engaging in a big con game that is anything but liberal in nature: Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right

    The author make a good point, Unseen. I was influenced by these guys too much perhaps. I can’t even listen to Harris’s podcasts any more and Bill Maher is all whiney about social distancing. I think Dawkins is kind of socially awkward in a nerdy way and presents more stodgy than he really is but he has said some things that made me wonder.  I saw some disgusting election-related tweets by Silverman and so I wrote him off. Dennett was more sensitive and Hitch always walked a thin line and would have probably found that perfectly fair and tight rope that weaves through all of these issues. I just wish he was still around, it would have been great.

    #38223

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right?

    I am not familiar with the author but i think he is full of shit and i think he knows he is full of shit. Disingenuous is he although the numerous barbs may on some points be accurate.

    #38224

    Davis
    Moderator

    I am with Robert more or less on this. Some of the depictions of the New Atheists are absolutely spot on. I would say of all of them the hyperbole is most extreme with Dawkins. He has unrepentedly said some stupid shit but it is ridiculous to lump him in with the bigger sleazebags of the bunch. I would say Sam Harris is a borderline case. Boghossian for me is the biggest disappointment. His philosophical work, in general is phenomenal and he wrote one of my favourite modern philosophical books (Fear of Knowledge). But his portraying things like Queer studies, women studies and black studies as “Grievance studies” is perverse and nauseating. Some of it is nonsense, much of it is highlighting the serious injustices, discrimination and even violence that these groups suffer. He is extremely intellectual dishonesty to frame all of these studies as moaning whining people speaking babble. He knows better but does it anyways. It is arrogance personified.

    In general (and again I would mostly leave Dawkins out of this group and a few of these rich mostly-white straight males as a borderline group) their obsession with “social justice warriors”, their Jihad against political correctness (some of it is necessary some of it is over the top), and veiled misogyny and racism can no longer be ignored. It inspires atheists to become equally irrationally obsessed over these topics (we need not look far at a member of our community who complains at length about leftist-bullies as though this is a threat to Western civilisation).

    Admitting that our heroes are extremely faulty is difficult. When they do fuck-up after fuck-up, eventually the balance sheet of harmful bullshit to society vs. contribution to humanism tips entirely against their favour and it is right to call them out on it. Many of the top New Atheists are terrible terrible disappointment and have become a detriment to the larger Western vocal rational-atheists community.

    #38225

    _Robert_
    Participant

    After centuries of domination you would think white men of European heritage could allow some pushback. Let the pendulum swing a bit too far. Take the punch, acknowledge the status quo. But no, we have predictions of doom, the end of liberal civilization and free speech. Fucking dramatic. Who me? I can’t be racist. I am the white liberal and I can’t even feel bad about my perfect self for a millisecond. Lets get back to me being the expert on everything including liberalism.

    #38226

    I thought this paragraph was good:

    At the heart of this merger was the creation of a new religious movement of sorts centered around the felt loss of power among white men due to the empowerment of other people. When it was once acceptable, according to cultural norms, for men to sexually harass women with impunity, or make harmful racist and sexist comments without worrying about losing a speaking opportunity, being held accountable can feel like an injustice, even though the exact opposite is the case.

    It is on a par with my regular comment that the Religious Freedom Act is viewed by many conservative Christians as a license to demand a religious privilege over others.  Our rights not to have religious interference in State affairs or not to have our children indoctrinated in public schools is not in any way an attempt to undermine your right to practice your faith.

     

    #38227

    jakelafort
    Participant

    These goddamn white atheist pseudo intellectuals on their high hobby horses won’t even take their coffee black!

    #38230

    Autumn
    Participant

    These goddamn white atheist pseudo intellectuals on their high hobby horses won’t even take their coffee black!

    At a minimum, some of them are definitely expecting to be given a little sugar.

    #38232

    Davis
    Moderator

    being held accountable can feel like an injustice, even though the exact opposite is the case.

    Yes Reg. That line stuck out for me too. A perfect summary of how even progressive people can become regressive people with victim complexes.

    #38233

    Davis
    Moderator

    It should also be pointed out (because often the obvious has to be pointed out) that calling out the more slimey behaviour of some of these guys is not the same thing as calling them evil or saying that they haven’t made significant and important contributions to humanism. We owe most of these people an enormous amount of gratitude for helping advance humanism. That is why many on that list have become abysmal disappointments. I agree the author has gone a little overboard in the article but his general conclusion is quite fair. It’s rich how some of these guys have called out religions for unfair division and persecution and yet say pointlessly misogynistic things and even defend illiberal ideas.

    #38236

    Autumn
    Participant

    We owe most of these people an enormous amount of gratitude for helping advance humanism. That is why many on that list have become abysmal disappointments. I agree the author has gone a little overboard in the article but his general conclusion is quite fair. It’s rich how some of these guys have called out religions for unfair division and persecution and yet say pointlessly misogynistic things and even defend illiberal ideas.

    It is a lesson to be learned though. Part of the strength of these figures was, ultimately, was that people hunger for celebrities to follow. And for a time, there was an emergent need for celebrity atheists like the so-called four horsemen. There was some benefit to this as it allowed for people to be drawn in and rally around certain ideas to push for a cultural shift. But even in the early 2000s I encountered this frequent scenario where if I disagreed with someone with regard to religion, they would quickly stop arguing against me and start arguing against Dawkins or Hitchens.

    And the issue is personalities were getting too deeply ingrained into ideas, and celebrity was displacing sound argument. So when we hit this scenario where we realize that these elevated icons really are just people with the same stupid blindspots and psychological bullshit as the rest of us, the blow hits much harder than it should because it seems to taint everything they touched, even the ideas that weren’t really novel at the time they espoused them.

    #38237

    _Robert_
    Participant

    It became personal for some if these guys..as in some “metoo” allegations. Tyson handled it well.

    Silverman, the humanist doesn’t think “it is not such a bad thing George Floyd is dead”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_UcCfF0-fE

     

    #38238

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Yeah that was some shit from Silverman. But i don’t think he belongs in the same category as some of the others. He is no intellectual. I heard him speak and corrected him on some points. He was good at mixing it up with Bill O’Reilly and helping to bring acceptance of atheists but as an intellectual? Nope.

    #38261

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Unseen what is your opinion of the Grifters article?

    #38264

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen what is your opinion of the Grifters article?

    All of the main actors seem to be doing more than OK financially by publishing books that show up on the NY Times best sellers list. I don’t know what they do with the treasure  they haul in. Do they wear Rolex’s or buy McLarens or do they donate the profits to some useful charity or advocacy group? I would think a lot depends upon that, but I don’t know the answer and I’m guessing no one else here does, either.

     

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