In Defence Of The New Atheism

Richard Kind in New Matilda:

ScreenHunter_1551 Dec. 11 21.01‘Another day, another tweet from Richard Dawkins’ wrote Eleanor Robertson last July, in response to the controversial professor’s latest foray into the Twittersphere.

Ah yes, I can remember thinking, another article on Richard Dawkins and how he and his fellow New Atheists are disappointing progressive expectations! Not that he didn’t deserve it, mind, having just used a moral taxonomy of rape in order to make a point about logic: not something you can do with much sensitivity in 140 characters or less, or even 140 characters or more.

But the backlash, too, is part of the ritual, and Newtonian in its predictability….

Does Dawkins make an arse of himself when he holds forth on the state of science in Islamic countries or goes ape-shit over a small jar of honey? Yes, he does.

Is Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, a crass and increasingly reactionary numpty? No question.

Does it follow that the New Atheism is an invitation to Western self-congratulation, Enlightenment fundamentalism and eliminationist Islamophobia, as Jeff Sparrow more or less averred in a Guardian article a few days ago? (Jeff had taken Dawkins’ tweets about US schoolboy Ahmed Mohamed and his unexploding clock as his text). In the minds of many progressives, it does.

Not mine. In fact I think there’s something iffy about much of the Anti-New Atheist commentary.

More here.