Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Conservative Nature of the New Atheism

10/20/2015—I’ve long had the feeling that the New Atheists—the late Chris Hitchens, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, etc.—are essentially politically conservative. But this has been just a feeling and given the power of the Christian right in the Republican Party, hardly a convincing one. My assumption just had to do with how selfish and individualistic the New Atheists seemed. There was little sense among them of human solidarity.

Anyway, I now have at least an example. Look up the interview in the Sunday New York Times Book Review of Matt Ridley. Ridley praises the New Atheist wing and likens it to Voltaire. But he also says the last book to make him furious was Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth because of its misstatements of science and claims that business people are made villains by novelists who live off the wealth they create. Ridley claims this is a bit facetious, but it undoubtedly represents his true feelings.

Then he describes the Bible in these words: “the grim tedium of this messy compilation of second-rate tribal legends and outrageous bigotry.”

Well, now. How can Gore’s misstated science make him furious and not the underlying danger itself? And how wrong can the science be in Gore’s book. Greenhouse gases make it warmer and that change floods a lot of people. That’s all the book really says and it is happening already, or so I hear.

As for the Bible, the followers of this book have done an awful lot of good in the world—bad, too—but what have atheists ever done for others? What has Ridley ever done for others?

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