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11:10 AM on 07/25/12 
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perceptrons
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anyone care to just highlight for me the main difference between new and old atheists? I didn't like the definitions I got out of googling it.
I think the distinction is stupid and should stop being used.
11:12 AM on 07/25/12 
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jawstheme
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I think the distinction is stupid and should stop being used.

I disagree. The distinction is as helpful as atheists attacking fundamentalists instead of attacking all religious people, even of the same denominations, who don't hold the same views. Although I'm not sure how one would define "old atheism." I don't think there is such a thing. But there are definitely common elements in new atheism.
11:15 AM on 07/25/12 
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I disagree. The distinction is as helpful as atheists attacking fundamentalists instead of attacking all religious people, even of the same denominations, who don't hold the same views. Although I'm not sure how one would define "old atheism." I don't think there is such a thing. But there are definitely common elements in new atheism.
Could you re-state the second sentence? Something about it is throwing me.

Edit: Wait, maybe I got it.
11:20 AM on 07/25/12 
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Could you re-state the second sentence? Something about it is throwing me.

Well, I know many people attack atheists as being dogmatic, holding specific values such as religion should not only not be tolerated but fought against, and use common argument lines like pitting science against religion in order to disprove god. Just saying "atheists have an agenda" is misleading because many atheists don't have an agenda at all, but new atheists do. So I think the term new atheism is helpful in drawing at least some kind of distinction.
And I know you said earlier most would consider you a "new atheist" but I don't think so. I would consider someone like that letterbomb user closer to new atheism.
11:24 AM on 07/25/12 
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I disagree. The distinction is as helpful as atheists attacking fundamentalists instead of attacking all religious people, even of the same denominations, who don't hold the same views. Although I'm not sure how one would define "old atheism." I don't think there is such a thing. But there are definitely common elements in new atheism.
So, it's helpful to distinguish between atheists that attack all religions vs. just fundamentalists? I disagree. There is a reason they use fundamentalists as the punching bag rather than those more similar to you. The only difference, in my mind, between a "new atheist" and your run o' the mill atheist is how outspoken one is. Which is a rather pointless distinction in my mind.
11:29 AM on 07/25/12 
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Well, I know many people attack atheists as being dogmatic, holding specific values such as religion should not only not be tolerated but fought against, and use common argument lines like pitting science against religion in order to disprove god. Just saying "atheists have an agenda" is misleading because many atheists don't have an agenda at all, but new atheists do. So I think the term new atheism is helpful in drawing at least some kind of distinction.
I think anti-theist is a better term for one who actively fights theism in all its forms, indistinguishably.

And I know you said earlier most would consider you a "new atheist" but I don't think so. I would consider someone like that letterbomb user closer to new atheism.
I don't think there is anything different about him/her but maturity and intelligence. I had a phase when I was younger when I acted similarly. It was just good old-fashioned childish rebellion.
11:37 AM on 07/25/12 
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I disagree. The distinction is as helpful as atheists attacking fundamentalists instead of attacking all religious people, even of the same denominations, who don't hold the same views. Although I'm not sure how one would define "old atheism." I don't think there is such a thing. But there are definitely common elements in new atheism.
so new atheists are ones out there to take down organized faiths while old atheists are more apathetic about the beliefs of others?
11:41 AM on 07/25/12 
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So, it's helpful to distinguish between atheists that attack all religions vs. just fundamentalists? I disagree. There is a reason they use fundamentalists as the punching bag rather than those more similar to you. The only difference, in my mind, between a "new atheist" and your run o' the mill atheist is how outspoken one is. Which is a rather pointless distinction in my mind.

Do most atheists attack all religions and religious people? I don't think so. And atheists aren't the only ones attacking fundamentalists, I see religious organizations fight fundamentalists and evangelicals just as hard as atheists.
And the problem is that new atheists don't just attack fundamentalists, but they use arguments against fundamentalists to attack all theism. That's a major distinction in my mind. I think the distinction is helpful because its easy to discard attacks and arguments against straw man gods (fundamentalist gods), much like its easy to attack fundamentalism and strict creationists (earth is 10,000 years old).
If I came in here and said "atheists piss me off, there is no reason why evolution and theism can't coexist just fine" you would say "well I never said that anyway so why would I piss you off?" The same as if someone came in and said "religion is horse shit, how am I supposed to believe that some guy lived in a whale and the earth is 10,000 years old" I would say "well I don't think so either, but that's not important." Categories can be helpful is all.
11:44 AM on 07/25/12 
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so new atheists are ones out there to take down organized faiths while old atheists are more apathetic about the beliefs of others?

I don't know if you can categorize "old atheists" at all. The new atheist movement just has specific elements to it. The term "new" is probably misused because it implies that there is a categorized old, but I don't think that's the case.
11:47 AM on 07/25/12 
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I think anti-theist is a better term for one who actively fights theism in all its forms, indistinguishably.


I don't think there is anything different about him/her but maturity and intelligence. I had a phase when I was younger when I acted similarly. It was just good old-fashioned childish rebellion.

Maybe, but "new atheist" has sort of caught on, and I find it to be a helpful distinction.


Haha, but I don't think he's that young. Or maybe you more of "new atheist" back then, haha. I'll try not to use the term when discussing these topics with you if it bothers you though.
11:48 AM on 07/25/12 
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I don't know if you can categorize "old atheists" at all. The new atheist movement just has specific elements to it. The term "new" is probably misused because it implies that there is a categorized old, but I don't think that's the case.
I see. And some of the newer elements include a more militant stance against fundamentalism?
11:49 AM on 07/25/12 
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I see. And some of the newer elements include a more militant stance against fundamentalism?

Well not just fundamentalism. It seems they want to fight religion wherever it occurs, but fundamentalism is their crutch criticism. That's where I, and I believe thepersonist, have problems with their lines of argument.
11:50 AM on 07/25/12 
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Do most atheists attack all religions and religious people? I don't think so.
All atheists attack the core belief of all religions: god's existence.

And atheists aren't the only ones attacking fundamentalists, I see religious organizations fight fundamentalists and evangelicals just as hard as atheists.
So do I, I'm not saying they don't. The Society of Friends shaped a rather large part of my worldview.

And the problem is that new atheists don't just attack fundamentalists, but they use arguments against fundamentalists to attack all theism. That's a major distinction in my mind. I think the distinction is helpful because its easy to discard attacks and arguments against straw man gods (fundamentalist gods), much like its easy to attack fundamentalism and strict creationists (earth is 10,000 years old). If I came in here and said "atheists piss me off, there is no reason why evolution and theism can't coexist just fine" you would say "well I never said that anyway so why would I piss you off?" The same as if someone came in and said "religion is horse shit, how am I supposed to believe that some guy lived in a whale and the earth is 10,000 years old" I would say "well I don't think so either, but that's not important." Categories can be helpful is all.
I can't say I don't like to categorize things, I mean, one of my favorite movies is High Fidelity. I prefer the distinction of mature/dumb, rather than the whole "New Atheists" thing. My main issue is that it implies they are so different from old atheists. I'm sure back in the day other people believed similar things, they just kept it to themselves because it wasn't at all socially acceptable to do so. Now atheists feel more emboldened to speak up, and some of those less refined views come out.
11:53 AM on 07/25/12 
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All atheists attack the core belief of all religions: god's existence.


So do I, I'm not saying they don't. The Society of Friends shaped a rather large part of my worldview.


I can't say I don't like to categorize things, I mean, one of my favorite movies is High Fidelity. I prefer the distinction of mature/dumb, rather than the whole "New Atheists" thing. My main issue is that it implies they are so different from old atheists. I'm sure back in the day other people believed similar things, they just kept it to themselves because it wasn't at all socially acceptable to do so. Now atheists feel more emboldened to speak up, and some of those less refined views come out.

This is a fair enough take on it. I disagree a little, but it would just be opinion. I highlighted the top sentence because it is my understanding that its not necessary to attack god's existence, which is kind of vague of broad anyway, but to reject it, mostly because of lack of evidence.
11:53 AM on 07/25/12 
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All atheists attack the core belief of all religions: god's existence.


So do I, I'm not saying they don't. The Society of Friends shaped a rather large part of my worldview.


I can't say I don't like to categorize things, I mean, one of my favorite movies is High Fidelity. I prefer the distinction of mature/dumb, rather than the whole "New Atheists" thing. My main issue is that it implies they are so different from old atheists. I'm sure back in the day other people believed similar things, they just kept it to themselves because it wasn't at all socially acceptable to do so. Now atheists feel more emboldened to speak up, and some of those less refined views come out.
but I don't think all atheists actively attack the concept of theism. They simply do not believe in it.



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