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Favorite of the New Atheists?

Wallstreetatheist
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1/18/2012 5:21:16 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Richard Dawkins - The sophisticated Evolutionary Biologist
Christopher Hitchens - The pugnacious, courageous, verbose Writer
Daniel Dennet - The mindful Philosopher
Sam Harris - The articulate, keen-witted, laconic Philosopher and Neuroscientist

All have a history of mercilessly slaughtering their opponents in debate, writing brave books on the dangers and fundamental idiocy of religion and superstition, and working tirelessly in the fight for freedom and truth.

However, you are faced with the choice of which is your favorite.

Christopher Hitchens was my favorite for several years because of his intelligence and wit, until Sam Harris who is the young, concise New Atheist amazed me with his witty debating skills.
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unitedandy
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1/18/2012 6:37:47 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
To be honest, none of them shine in their attempts to make a case for atheism. Dawkins and Dennett endorse a weird and terrible argument that's logically invalid and completely unconvincing. Harris hints at the problem of evil, but doesn't really develop it, and uses terrible arguments in this area also (e.g. where did God come from), and Hitchens doesn't really advance any sort of argument at all.

In saying that, I agree that Harris in particular is pretty good at conversational debates, and all of them make relevant and interesting points about religion in society, in politics and so on. All in all, Dawkins is definitely the best of them. An expert in his field, a great communicator and pioneer of evolution and I think it's even arguable he has made a sizeable contribution to the philosophy of religion, via his blind watchmaker book, which has been described as the best refutation of the more traditional teleological arguments.
Meatros
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1/18/2012 7:45:13 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'd say Harris or Hitchens, because of the power of their rhetoric. None of them are particularly great at religious argumentation, IMO. Dennett should be miles better since he's a philosopher, but it seems that he doesn't take religion seriously enough to do a cursory read over the top theistic philosophers.
baggins
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1/18/2012 7:55:50 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Of the four - I have read only Dawkins. Reading him - I realized how flawed the so called 'scientific world' is.
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Mr.Infidel
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1/18/2012 11:11:26 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I dislike all of them. I prefer the "orthodox" ahtiests--people like Theodore Drange.
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OMGJustinBieber
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1/18/2012 11:18:29 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Dawkins is smart not to accept a challenge from Craig, he'd be way of his comfort zone. There's no doubt that Dawkins is very intelligent, but he's clearly more of "pop philosopher" or a scientist dipping into philosophy. I haven't heard much from Dennett, and Hitchens seemed to be more about documenting the effects of religion ("God is not Great") - but both Dawkins and Hitchens are very entertaining to hear speak.

Harris seems to be more acquainted with theistic arguments, and IMO "The moral landscape" was a big step up from his earlier works. He brings a unique perspective (neuroscience) to the field which really gives him promise.
vbaculum
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1/18/2012 12:43:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Hitchens and Harris are, in my opinion, the best modern writers of social critisism and commentary we have. Dawkins and Dennet are close seconds. I think these writers are better thought of a brilliant thinkers instead of simply atheist writer (new atheists). If they never attacted religion they would still be highly regarded by those who were fortunate enough to read them.
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OMGJustinBieber
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1/18/2012 12:46:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
via his blind watchmaker book, which has been described as the best refutation of the more traditional teleological arguments.

I'll have to look into this. Which book is this? It's funny how teleological arguments have so clearly been hijacked to imply the necessity of a mind to "ground" it. Aristotle certainly never had that in mind with his writings on teleology.
unitedandy
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1/18/2012 1:43:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/18/2012 12:46:56 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
via his blind watchmaker book, which has been described as the best refutation of the more traditional teleological arguments.

I'll have to look into this. Which book is this? It's funny how teleological arguments have so clearly been hijacked to imply the necessity of a mind to "ground" it. Aristotle certainly never had that in mind with his writings on teleology.

http://www.amazon.co.uk...
cameronl35
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1/18/2012 5:15:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/18/2012 5:21:16 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
Richard Dawkins - The sophisticated Evolutionary Biologist
Christopher Hitchens - The pugnacious, courageous, verbose Writer
Daniel Dennet - The mindful Philosopher
Sam Harris - The articulate, keen-witted, laconic Philosopher and Neuroscientist

All have a history of mercilessly slaughtering their opponents in debate, writing brave books on the dangers and fundamental idiocy of religion and superstition, and working tirelessly in the fight for freedom and truth.

However, you are faced with the choice of which is your favorite.

Christopher Hitchens was my favorite for several years because of his intelligence and wit, until Sam Harris who is the young, concise New Atheist amazed me with his witty debating skills.

I prefer Sam Harris, Dawkins is ridiculous.
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InsertNameHere
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1/18/2012 5:17:03 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
All of them seem pretty ridiculous to me. Keep in mind I'm not an atheist though. I can respect them as scientists though as I know Dawkins, for example, has contributed a lot to evolutionary biology.
CosmicAlfonzo
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1/18/2012 7:02:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I haven't read any of their books. I've seen video recordings of em though.

I think New Atheists are misguided. But as the name implies, they are like the Christian who on conversion become very open about their religion to the point of just being a pest.

When a "New Atheist" matures, like the Christian, they either mellow out or become fanatical arse wipes.
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vbaculum
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1/18/2012 11:48:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/18/2012 7:02:20 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
I haven't read any of their books. I've seen video recordings of em though.

I think New Atheists are misguided. But as the name implies, they are like the Christian who on conversion become very open about their religion to the point of just being a pest.

When a "New Atheist" matures, like the Christian, they either mellow out or become fanatical arse wipes.

When people say "new atheist", I don't always know if they are talking about the 4 writers we've been discussing or who.

If your talking about the writers themselves, I would point out that they are doing nothing rhetorically improper. They take the position that all religions are man-made and then martial arguments in support of that position. They aren't shrill or irascible and even if they were, it would be an ad hominem to point it out.
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popculturepooka
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1/19/2012 9:21:42 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/18/2012 11:48:29 PM, vbaculum wrote:

If your talking about the writers themselves, I would point out that they are doing nothing rhetorically improper.

Lol?

They take the position that all religions are man-made and then martial arguments in support of that position. They aren't shrill or irascible and even if they were, it would be an ad hominem to point it out.

Yes, they are shrill and irascible and no it's not necessarily an ad hominem to point it out. It would be if one claimed their arguments suck because they're shrill and irascible. I'm saying that they're shrill and irascible and their arguments suck.
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vbaculum
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1/19/2012 11:05:25 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 9:21:42 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/18/2012 11:48:29 PM, vbaculum wrote:

If your talking about the writers themselves, I would point out that they are doing nothing rhetorically improper.

Lol?

Oh, you mean because their blasphemous?


They take the position that all religions are man-made and then martial arguments in support of that position. They aren't shrill or irascible and even if they were, it would be an ad hominem to point it out.


Yes, they are shrill and irascible and no it's not necessarily an ad hominem to point it out. It would be if one claimed their arguments suck because they're shrill and irascible. I'm saying that they're shrill and irascible and their arguments suck.

I meant that their tone and style is irrelevent to their arguments, but I get your point.

Anyway, name the worst anti-religous argument they collectivly make.
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CosmicAlfonzo
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1/19/2012 12:13:54 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Give it a few hundred years. The words of these authors will become religious dogma. The cosmic joke is already working here with the set up.
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vbaculum
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1/19/2012 1:40:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 12:13:54 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Give it a few hundred years. The words of these authors will become religious dogma. The cosmic joke is already working here with the set up.

Wouldn't make anything they say untrue in the least.

But, how could words like "all religions are man-made" or "faith is a source tremendous suffering" become religious dogma? If they were promulgated as such they would be transparently self-refuting.

Besides, religion will have completely vanished from the planet in a few hundred years (unless a huge war sets us back).
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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InsertNameHere
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1/19/2012 2:59:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 1:40:06 PM, vbaculum wrote:

Besides, religion will have completely vanished from the planet in a few hundred years (unless a huge war sets us back).

I doubt that. Even if the current existing religions were to die out people would find something else to believe in. The only thing I think would be likely to happen is more people becoming like me and being dissatisfied with clergy.
Jon1
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1/19/2012 4:25:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 1:40:06 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 1/19/2012 12:13:54 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Give it a few hundred years. The words of these authors will become religious dogma. The cosmic joke is already working here with the set up.

Wouldn't make anything they say untrue in the least.

But, how could words like "all religions are man-made" or "faith is a source tremendous suffering" become religious dogma? If they were promulgated as such they would be transparently self-refuting.

Besides, religion will have completely vanished from the planet in a few hundred years (unless a huge war sets us back).

Baseless assertion.
CosmicAlfonzo
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1/19/2012 4:26:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
@vbac

It hasn't stopped religions from forming before. Religion is a tool that is meant to educate honest dipsh1ts indirectly. It is also a tool for gauging how shytty a dishonest person is.
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OMGJustinBieber
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1/19/2012 4:27:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 12:13:54 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Give it a few hundred years. The words of these authors will become religious dogma. The cosmic joke is already working here with the set up.

Have you seen the Richard Dawkins south park episode? This is what that post reminded me of.
vbaculum
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1/19/2012 4:56:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 4:26:25 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
@vbac

It hasn't stopped religions from forming before.

Not sure what you mean by "it".

Religion is a tool that is meant to educate honest dipsh1ts indirectly.

Hopefully, in 200 years we will have better tools to educate people with so there will be no need for religion (at least from the perspective of social control).

It is also a tool for gauging how shytty a dishonest person is.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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vbaculum
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1/19/2012 5:01:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 4:25:55 PM, Jon1 wrote:
At 1/19/2012 1:40:06 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 1/19/2012 12:13:54 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Give it a few hundred years. The words of these authors will become religious dogma. The cosmic joke is already working here with the set up.

Wouldn't make anything they say untrue in the least.

But, how could words like "all religions are man-made" or "faith is a source tremendous suffering" become religious dogma? If they were promulgated as such they would be transparently self-refuting.

Besides, religion will have completely vanished from the planet in a few hundred years (unless a huge war sets us back).

Baseless assertion.

True, but that doesn't mean I can't back it up. I didn't want to derail the thread any more but if you want, I can tell you why I think religion will gradually die out.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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Wnope
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1/19/2012 6:47:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 6:41:53 PM, Wnope wrote:
I choose C. Neil deGrasse Tyson

http://www.youtube.com...

http://www.youtube.com...

Best short speech summarizing blunt facts about faith and science. Better than how Dawkins et al approach things.
popculturepooka
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1/19/2012 7:46:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 6:41:53 PM, Wnope wrote:
I choose C. Neil deGrasse Tyson



He's not a "new" atheist. They tend to have very distinctive traits.
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popculturepooka
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1/19/2012 7:49:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 11:05:25 AM, vbaculum wrote:
At 1/19/2012 9:21:42 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/18/2012 11:48:29 PM, vbaculum wrote:

If your talking about the writers themselves, I would point out that they are doing nothing rhetorically improper.

Lol?

Oh, you mean because their blasphemous?


They take the position that all religions are man-made and then martial arguments in support of that position. They aren't shrill or irascible and even if they were, it would be an ad hominem to point it out.


Yes, they are shrill and irascible and no it's not necessarily an ad hominem to point it out. It would be if one claimed their arguments suck because they're shrill and irascible. I'm saying that they're shrill and irascible and their arguments suck.

I meant that their tone and style is irrelevent to their arguments, but I get your point.

Anyway, name the worst anti-religous argument they collectivly make.

They collectively make? I don't know of any argument they "collectively" make but I can point out individual arguments each of them make that are awful. E.g. "boeing 747 gambit" for Dawkins.
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popculturepooka
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1/19/2012 7:51:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 1:40:06 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Besides, religion will have completely vanished from the planet in a few hundred years (unless a huge war sets us back).

Isn't that what some Enlightenment folk were saying hundreds of years ago?
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vbaculum
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1/20/2012 11:31:18 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 7:49:35 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/19/2012 11:05:25 AM, vbaculum wrote:
At 1/19/2012 9:21:42 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/18/2012 11:48:29 PM, vbaculum wrote:

If your talking about the writers themselves, I would point out that they are doing nothing rhetorically improper.

Lol?

Oh, you mean because their blasphemous?


They take the position that all religions are man-made and then martial arguments in support of that position. They aren't shrill or irascible and even if they were, it would be an ad hominem to point it out.


Yes, they are shrill and irascible and no it's not necessarily an ad hominem to point it out. It would be if one claimed their arguments suck because they're shrill and irascible. I'm saying that they're shrill and irascible and their arguments suck.

I meant that their tone and style is irrelevent to their arguments, but I get your point.

Anyway, name the worst anti-religous argument they collectivly make.

They collectively make? I don't know of any argument they "collectively" make but I can point out individual arguments each of them make that are awful. E.g. "boeing 747 gambit" for Dawkins.

In my mind, deism and speculation that the universe had a designer are much more legitimate endevors than what we commonly call religion which makes many more unneeded assumptions. So for me, this isn't an anti-religious argument.

But I would ask you:

Who created the creator?

Isn't a creator an unneccesary assumption thus a violaton of Occam's razor?

Aren't we only using theistic language to explain the origin of the universe because we have inherited theistic memes from or paleolithic forebears?
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

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vbaculum
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1/20/2012 11:44:11 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/19/2012 7:51:01 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 1/19/2012 1:40:06 PM, vbaculum wrote:
Besides, religion will have completely vanished from the planet in a few hundred years (unless a huge war sets us back).

Isn't that what some Enlightenment folk were saying hundreds of years ago?

If so, I am in agreement with them and I think they were correct.

If progress has been slow, I would point out that quite a few wars have occured since then to slow the progress of our psychological emancipation not to mention a lot of failed attempts at designing societies. In places where societies have flourished (Europe, Japan, etc.) , secularism and disbelief have flourished as well and will continue to do so.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it