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Atheism – The New (Emergent) Atheists, part 1 of 4 | True Freethinker

Have you heard the saying, “If it’s true, it’s not new; and if it’s new, it’s not true?” Well, the “New Atheists” fit the bill-they are not new, and they are not representing what is true.

Part 1: Who Are The New Atheists? and What Are Their Claims?
Part 2: What Is Their Appeal? and What Is The New Atheist Movement? Part 3: An Atheist New World Order – A One World Atheist Religion

Part 4: Is The New Atheist Movement Dead? and Let Us Heed Their Words

“New Atheists” is a pop-culture and media term for a group generally represented by four celebrity Atheists: Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. While there are many popular Atheists, these four are the leaders of the New Atheist movement. A videotaped conversation that took place between the four is sold under the title: The Four Horsemen (reviewed here).
atheismandthefourhorsemenandricharddawkinsanddanieldennettandsamharrisandchristopherhitchens-2393448But who are they? What are their claims? What is their appeal? What is the New Atheist movement? These are some of the questions that we will consider in this parsed essay.


Who Are The New Atheists?For our purposes, let us note the following succinct biographical information:

Richard Dawkins

The recently retired Charles Simonyi, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, a chair held at Oxford University. He is a biologist and zoologist by training and has been praised for his ability to elucidate biological functions.
His books include: The Selfish Gene (1976); The Blind Watchmaker (1986); Unweaving the Rainbow (1998); A Devil’s Chaplain (2003); and The God Delusion (2006).It is important to keep in mind that even whilst elucidating biology, Richard Dawkins is presenting observations of the natural world mixed with his particular Atheistic worldview.

Richard Dawkins claims it is almost certain (99% to be exact) that there is no God. Although, when Ben Stein asked him, “How do you know?” he admitted he had no reason for the quantification and he was since then stated, “God is not dead. He was never alive in the first place.”1

Having been raised an Anglican, he experienced doubts upon learning of the various religions at the age of nine. At 16, he was taught the Darwinian theory of evolution and believed it could do the job of explaining life, and thus, warding off God into the realm of delusion.

Daniel Dennett
The University Professor, Austin B. Fletcher, Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.

His books include: Consciousness Explained (1991); Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995); Freedom Evolves (2003); and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006).
As with Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett’s craft, philosophy, is biased towards Atheism.
Sam Harris
Graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and is studying towards a doctorate in neuroscience.
His books are: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (2004); and Letter to a Christian Nation (2006).
Sam Harris spent many years traveling the globe in search of spiritual experiences which included the consumption of various hallucinogenic drugs. He does not like the term “Atheist,” because we do not have terms such as “non-astrologer.”2 He has stated that he had a “very secular upbringing.”3
Christopher Hitchens
Author, journalist, literary critic and political observer. He received his education at The Leys School, Cambridge and Balliol College, Oxford receiving a third-class degree. He is praised for his literary output and style.
His books include: Karl Marx and the Paris Commune (1971); The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice (1995); No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton (1999); Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001); and God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007).Christopher Hitchens wrote:

My parents did not try to impose religion: I was probably fortunate in having a father who had not especially loved his strict Baptist/Calvinist up-bringing, and a mother who preferred assimilation-partly for my sake-to the Judaism of her forebears.4

He refers to himself as an “anti-theist.” This denotes God in the hands of an angry sinner.
What Are Their Claims?With regard to their claims, we must note that while they are individuals, they do have much in common.We must begin by considering what Atheism is and to what are atheist beliefs? “Atheism” is a word derived from two Greek terms “a” and “theos.” A word derives its meaning from its roots, its contemporary usage and the context in which it is found. Thus, “Atheism” is defined as lack of God belief, negation of God, no God, etc.

The New Atheists prefer the “lack of God belief” interpretation (a definition which refers to as a preferred by a “few morons” who are “so damn stupid”; see History of Atheism). Note that “lack of God belief” or even “I don’t believe in God” are not statements about God’s existence; one can have a “lack of belief”-or not believe-in something that actually does exist.

According to their preferred definition, Atheism is not a belief, philosophy, worldview or anything, but rather, it is a lack of belief in God or, as they term it, a “lack of belief in god(s).” Moreover, Atheism is a broad term that can range from whether the individual Atheist actually believes God does not exist (which is generally known as strong, positive, explicit or critical Atheism) to merely claiming to lack belief in God (which is generally known as weak, negative or implicit Atheism). Noteworthy may be that even the website defines atheist weakly (’s Cliff Walker has been considered here).
Furthermore, Atheists refer to themselves by various terms such as anti-theist, non-theist, and they have other terms which denote their particular emphasis or social-like, activist, cultural group such as naturalist, materialist, rationalist, skeptic, Bright, Freethinker, Humanist, etc.
The New Atheists adhere to a sect of Atheism that does not positively assert God’s non-existence-that is to say, they would not claim to know that God does not exist. They are, in reality, Agnostics: this is another Greek-based “a” word, one followed by “gnosis” meaning lack of knowledge or no knowledge, from which we get the term, as it came to us from Latin, “ignorant.”The New Atheist’s book titles reveal quite a bit: God is not great since God is a delusory, naturally occurring phenomenon whose adherents poison everything by engaging in malevolence. God is viewed as a psychological reaction to ignorance and superstition spiked with fear of the unknown.

The New Atheists also assert that people invent the idea of God as a protective father figure. In light of this, it is interesting to note that Professor Emeritus of Psychology Paul Vitz (New York University) has studied the life of various prominent Atheists and turns the table by pointing out that their rebellion against God stemmed from their rebellion against their abusive, absentee, or aloof fathers.5

The New Atheists claim that scientific advancements and reason have done away with the need to believe in the supernatural; and that religion is growing ever-more dangerous as fanatics can obtain powerful weapons.


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