Friday, 24 September 2010

Nouvelle Atheism

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those wh...Image via Wikipedia
Caspar Melville followed up his poorly argued piece on new atheism with a report on the debate that took place between Marilynne Robinson, Roger Scruton and Jonathan Rée, with Laurie Taylor chairing. I'm reproducing here the comment I made on RD.NET.

What a waste of an evening that sounds. Accommodationists sitting round chundering about tone whilst slagging off new atheists in an even worse tone. Maybe one day they will actually come up with some action points that aren't self-defeating.
I presume Melville misspelled accommodationist because someone here did? I realise this is pedantic, but can we please get this right? M & M, like the chocolates, not one M.
I suppose it [accommodationist] means that I am prepared to debate with people who have views that are different from mine, including those who have religious belief and those who liked the film Amelie. If this is what it means, then I am, and proud of it.
No, that's not what it means, else Dawkins would be one and everyone who posts on this board. Sheesh; how do these people get paid employment? There are two meanings:
  1. An advocate of NOMA.
  2. A tone troll; someone who waffles on about tone (which is important), but doesn't present any evidence to back up why the tone they prefer is the best one, and constantly falls foul of her own tone rules. For an example, see the You're Not Helping debacle.
I suppose if you think that this really is some kind battle [sic] – between religious believers (all in one camp) and atheists (all in another) you could believe that, but I don't (in fact I think this is very dangerous view).
Plainly not, with milquetoasts about!
I'm suspicious of arguments that sound like they have discovered the Truth. They always sound too much like dogma for my taste, and if the non-believing gang is against anything, surely it's dogmatism?
Exactly; the problem with accommodationists is they are telling people what to do, based on nothing but, well, dogma, apparently. That doesn't go down well amongst genuine sceptics.
Subsequently Steve Zara made this point:
For people like Melville to moan because the arguments of theology aren't addressed in detail by people like Richard is like someone saying that complaints about the UK's national eating habits are absurd because the fine and rare dishes served at The Savoy aren't being considered. The "fine dishes" (actually a form of homeopathic cuisine - the plates look empty) of theology aren't what the vast majority consume. When people want to try and understand and deal with religion, they have to confront the everyday reality of religion.
Very true, but the problem with faitheists, accommodationists is their lack of substantive argument. It is perhaps only to be expected. Atheism itself is pretty empty, being a lack of belief; attacking it from another atheistic viewpoint has always seemed a pretty pointless occupation. So this allusion suggested to me another for those of an accommodationist bent - that of Nouvelle Atheism - a tiny serving of the right ingredients that doesn't satisfy.
Enhanced by Zemanta


Post a Comment