Does this "compute"?

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Does this "compute"?

#1  Postby Stein » Dec 05, 2021 7:43 am

Well, guys, is this responsible journalism, or hyperbole, or downright misleading? What do you guys think?

https://www.salon.com/2021/06/05/how-th ... surrender/

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Re: Does this "compute"?

#2  Postby Hermit » Dec 05, 2021 8:57 am

responsible journalism 90%
hyperbole 10%
downright misleading 0%
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#3  Postby felltoearth » Dec 05, 2021 3:30 pm

It's almost like there is good reason for RatSkep's existence.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#4  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 05, 2021 3:50 pm

I don't know enough about most of the personalities involved to comment on factual accuracy, but you can still see what kind of written piece it is by lines like:

Michael Shermer: The founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, which once published a favorable review of Milo Yiannopoulos' book "Dangerous" and a defense of child-rapist Jerry Sandusky, Shermer made a name for himself as a "skeptic."


That's not the kind of sentence that makes me trust in the unbiased integrity of the writing as it's so obviously motivated polemic.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#5  Postby Cito di Pense » Dec 05, 2021 7:29 pm

Spearthrower wrote:I don't know enough about most of the personalities involved to comment on factual accuracy, but you can still see what kind of written piece it is by lines like:

Michael Shermer: The founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, which once published a favorable review of Milo Yiannopoulos' book "Dangerous" and a defense of child-rapist Jerry Sandusky, Shermer made a name for himself as a "skeptic."


That's not the kind of sentence that makes me trust in the unbiased integrity of the writing as it's so obviously motivated polemic.


Well, there we have it. The author collected the names of notables or near-notables in a particular category, found one or two cardinal sins to point to -- sometimes only by innuendo -- the way only the blue-haired church women know how. Of course, the sins are for the most part in a somewhat different vein, such as failing to tar and feather some obvious third party villain. Mostly what the cited crew have in common to make them targets of a screed like this one is that they're white, male, and accomplished non-ring-kissers. What the woke brigade need most these days is their own papacy.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#6  Postby The_Metatron » Dec 06, 2021 1:13 am

I don't know how others process this. I've read, watched, and seen a few of these bigshot atheists. I got from them some very useful ideas, to be certain. I rejected some others of their ideas.

And then, I move on, synthesizing the new ideas into my model of reality, seeing what successes I can bring in life. I find that dirt I may learn about these bigshots is usually irrelevant to the ideas of theirs I find useful. Thomas Jefferson owned other humans, yet seemed to have a few other good ideas, as an example.

I see it as an attempt to discredit ideas. An attempt based not on the ideas, but on their authors.

It'll take better ideas to change my mind, Mr. Torres. You seem to have nothing new to offer.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#7  Postby Hermit » Dec 06, 2021 7:22 am

The_Metatron wrote:I see it as an attempt to discredit ideas. An attempt based not on the ideas, but on their authors.

If Torres's intent were to discredit ideas he would have addressed the ideas rather than the objectionable behaviour and views - of which he cites plenty - of their authors. Where he goes overboard is signalled right in the title and repeated in the body of the text:
What's sad is that the New Atheist movement could have made a difference — a positive difference — in the world. Instead, it gradually merged with factions of the alt-right to become what former New York Times contributing editor Bari Weiss calls the "Intellectual Dark Web" (IDW), a motley crew of pseudo-intellectuals whose luminaries include Jordan Peterson, Eric and Bret Weinstein, Douglas Murray, Dave Rubin and Ben Shapiro, in addition to those mentioned above.

No, the "New Atheists" have not merged with the far right. That is sheer hyperbole. Some atheists are sexist libertarians of the conservative ilk. Shock, horror. Who would have thought that the only essentially unifying factor among atheists is a lack of belief in the existence of a supernatural entity?
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#8  Postby Blackadder » Dec 06, 2021 8:32 pm

New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity.

Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was! Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized.


This is cheap, lazy, shite journalism. It falls into the trap that I see many (if not most) mainstream hacks fall into, which is to conflate ideas with personalities.

"New" Atheism, if there ever was such a thing, was identified with certain personalities by the type of idiot journalist that wrote the above tripe. Atheism was around a long time before the likes of Dawkins, Harris et al arrived on the scene, They may have contributed their thoughts and raised the profile of atheism generally, but they are not gurus, they are not prophets and they are not leaders. Atheism, "new" or old, is not a movement and it's not a religion. Atheism is a descriptive noun, not a living thing and certainly not an extension of the personalities of a few high profile book writers or lecture circuit speakers. So, whatever the failings or flaws of those mentioned in this excrescence of an article, atheism has not failed, or "merged" with anything. Torres is a fucking moron .
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#9  Postby Hermit » Dec 07, 2021 6:28 am

Blackadder wrote:
New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity.

Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was! Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized.

This is cheap, lazy, shite journalism. It falls into the trap that I see many (if not most) mainstream hacks fall into, which is to conflate ideas with personalities.

"New" Atheism, if there ever was such a thing, was identified with certain personalities by the type of idiot journalist that wrote the above tripe. Atheism was around a long time before the likes of Dawkins, Harris et al arrived on the scene, They may have contributed their thoughts and raised the profile of atheism generally, but they are not gurus, they are not prophets and they are not leaders. Atheism, "new" or old, is not a movement and it's not a religion. Atheism is a descriptive noun, not a living thing and certainly not an extension of the personalities of a few high profile book writers or lecture circuit speakers. So, whatever the failings or flaws of those mentioned in this excrescence of an article, atheism has not failed, or "merged" with anything. Torres is a fucking moron .

The term New Atheism reacquired currency with a package of articles assembled by Wired magazine's contributing editor Gary Wolf in 2006. Its title, The Church of the Non-Believers, and its subtitle, A band of intellectual brothers is mounting a crusade against belief in God. Are they winning converts, or merely preaching to the choir?, clearly signal that it is a hatchet piece.

We are asked to believe that New Atheism is just another form of religion, and an evangelist one at that, beset with absurdities and dogma like all the others. New Atheist views are said to be distinguished from those of lax agnostics and noncommittal nonbelievers "who would be embarrassed to defend antique absurdities like the Virgin Birth or the notion that Mary rose into heaven without dying, or any other blatant myth".

There is of course nothing new about New Atheism. The label is a misnomer. The number of atheist who actively and publicly opposed theism has risen steadily since at least as early as 1843 when Karl Marx described religion as the opium of the people. What was new was the number of atheist books within a short period by four authors*, and their unprecedented sales volume. The meeting of those four authors for a 2-hour discussion, which was recorded and uploaded in two instalments under the title The Four Horsemen made it all the easier to label them as the core members of the New Atheist Movement as if such a thing actually existed.

I don't think Phil Torres, an atheist himself, means to discredit atheism. He has appointed himself as the moral police passing judgement on a group of white, middle-aged, thoroughly bourgeois males he conflates with New Atheism. PZ Myers did the same around shortly afterwards here, and again more recently here. Does anyone think his intention is to discredit atheism?

*The End of Faith (2004) Sam Harris
The God Delusion (2006) Richard Dawkins
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006) Daniel Dennett
Letter to a Christian Nation (2006) Sam Harris
God is Not Great (2007) Christopher Hitchens
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#10  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 07, 2021 7:41 am

Hermit wrote:Does anyone think his intention is to discredit atheism?



My assumption - without having had the interest to read the whole article - was that he was doing the old 'I'm better than both sides'.

As for PZ Myers - it's clowns like that who made me sure that if it was a movement, it could move right along without me! :grin: The man knows his zebrafish, but he should've stuck to that.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#11  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 07, 2021 7:44 am

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula ... e-atheism/

This, so this... this is the real beef PZ has. He never got as much limelight as he felt he deserved. PZ wanted to lead a movement - he made a number of posts on the matter back in ye olde days, and it had all the hallmarks of attempting to set himself up as a high priest. He failed abysmally. The idea that he gets to sit today in judgment of others is all part of the fantasy.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#12  Postby Hermit » Dec 07, 2021 8:22 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Hermit wrote:Does anyone think his intention is to discredit atheism?

My assumption - without having had the interest to read the whole article - was that he was doing the old 'I'm better than both sides'.

Yes, there is an undercurrent of virtue signalling. What makes the article a waste of time is Torres's central message that "...the New Atheist movement [...] gradually merged with factions of the alt-right to become what former New York Times contributing editor Bari Weiss calls the "Intellectual Dark Web"..." because there is no such thing as "the New Atheist movement".

Spearthrower wrote:As for PZ Myers - it's clowns like that who made me sure that if it was a movement, it could move right along without me! :grin: The man knows his zebrafish, but he should've stuck to that.

Ah, PZ Myers. In March 2009 he wrote a post titled "Richard Dawkins: banned in Oklahoma?" My reaction (at rationalia.com) was:
Is this P.Z. Myers' usual style of blogging? If so, I've read enough of his stuff. [...] he could teach the tabloid media a trick or two regarding the arts of exaggeration, twisting facts until they bear no relation with reality and sheer hysteria mongering. Fuck off, Myers. Your blathering - at least in this instance - is counterproductive to the spread of atheism.

Sam Harris, he of objective morality and preemptive nuclear strike fame, is worse.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#13  Postby Spearthrower » Dec 07, 2021 9:49 am

Even there, he's so desperate to equivalate himself to Dawkins. It's sad.
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Bedfellows?

#14  Postby Stein » Dec 17, 2021 7:54 pm

Well, this is a pretty picture.....

https://www.salon.com/2021/06/05/how-th ... surrender/

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Re: Bedfellows?

#15  Postby Hermit » Dec 18, 2021 5:10 am

God is the mysterious veil under which we hide our ignorance of the cause. - Léo Errera


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Re: Does this "compute"?

#16  Postby The_Metatron » Dec 18, 2021 3:42 pm

Spearthrower wrote:Even there, he's so desperate to equivalate himself to Dawkins. It's sad.

RD lost my attention when he closed our forum there. He may even have written some good things since then. Unless a third party tells me though, I won't know. I don't forgive that affront on public discourse.

I get a strong feeling when I read PZ, he imagines himself to be some sort of white knight. It totally eclipses any feelings of confidence in him.
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Re: Does this "compute"?

#17  Postby The_Piper » Dec 18, 2021 5:22 pm

Dawkins is an old fuddy-duddy in the extreme, but he did write The Selfish Gene, which is an excellent book. Of course that was 45 years ago, when he wasn't old, and presumably not yet a fuddy duddy. That's the only one I read. I also don't pay attention to him nowadays, it's like a black hole of bad takes. :lol:
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