Are New Atheists Idiots?

I came across this artice on Slate on some arrogant, “intellectually superior” atheist named Martin Pribble is leaving the atheist community because the religious are unthinking and irrational.

He spends the first few paragraphs deriding faith and religious people, with such arrogantly superior gems as this:

There is no point in it. All this back-and-forth sniping serves to do is to make us feel a sense of superiority to the person making the claims and does nothing for them except leave them with a smugness about their assumption that “atheists are all mean.” Faith overrides knowledge and truth in any situation, so arguing with a theist is akin to banging your head against a brick wall: You will injure yourself and achieve little.

Just after a few paragraphs of this type of arrogance, he then states this:

I have decided to define myself by what I stand for in life rather than what I don’t believe in. I call this “methodological humanism.” In essence, methodological humanism is a standpoint by which everyone, theist, agnostic, and atheist alike, can agree on as a platform from which we can all benefit: the need for food, water, and sanitation; the protection of our natural environment; and the preservation of the world as a whole. Without these things, we, as a species, cease to exist.

Make sure to read the link to “methodological humanism.”

Are atheists really this intellectually blind? Can he honestly not see the disconnect?

He derides faith, then blindly creates his own little faith-based beliefs which we should all agree for we will all “benefit”.

But I’m probably just “banging my head against a brick wall” as even if he reads this he probably will not see.


Bonus Fun: On the sidebar of his blog he states “I am a member of Secular Woman”. I have no point with this but it amused me.

7 responses to “Are New Atheists Idiots?

  • zhai2nan2

    The problem is not idiocy on the individual level, it’s idiocy in how Western society structures debate.People spend years learning various academic disciplines and forgetting how to find common ground. By the time we have some science to debate about, we are too hostile and defensive to debate anyone outside our scientific specialty.

  • Zippy

    What is more, his notion of faith is not the traditional Christian understanding of faith. Faith is a kind of knowledge: it is trust placed in a trustworthy witness or teacher. The modern idea of faith – more or less “belief for no good reason” – is tommyrot, a straw man caricature which has been repeated so many times that many Christians have bought into it themselves. It places knowledge and faith in opposition to each other rather than understanding that faith is a kind of knowledge — an unavoidable kind, since we all know most of what we know through trust in reliable sources, that is, faith. The existence of God is knowable to natural reason; trusting in Him (faith) implies knowledge of what He has chosen to reveal to us, as well as trust in His benevolence, etc.

    Modernity is in significant part a project aimed at destroying any kind of authoritative knowledge that rivals “scientific” knowledge (for values of “scientific”). Faith and stereotypes are prominent examples.

  • nightskyradio

    “I call this “methodological humanism.””

    More syllables = Rilly Deep Thoughts.

  • Victory or Death

    Lel i made the same argument to some kids on facebook who were bashing Christianity because “there is not man in the sky” and i called stupid for pointing out their hypocrisy

  • Matt

    I didn’t think the methodological humanism sounded that bad. It’s essentially a way to declare a truce on religion while promoting progress. When I read the original article though last week, I remember thinking it sounded unbearably smug. If he argued atheism the same way he did that methodological humanism post, he might have found it less trying.

    Zippy is right on the correct definition of faith, but it’s actually this way today as well. That is, the existence of God is the major sticking point, and the profession of faith therein is assumed to follow naturally from belief in the existence thereof. In a way this is a victory for Christians; they don’t have to convince anyone that God is the right god, they just have to convince them he exists. You don’t find anyone who believes god exists but then declines to worship him.

    Unfortunately, God has decided that he is going to be as non-obvious about his existence as he possibly can.

  • Free Northerner

    @ zhai: Yup; this was more a convenient example of this kind of thought than an attempt to pick on this one guy.

    @ Zippy: That’s a good point to keep in mind.

    @ Matt: It’s vaguely nonoffensive because it is empty; its nothing more than faddish modernism.

    I’ve heard a number of atheists say that if God exists they would oppose him because they think he’s immoral.

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