Critics of the New Atheists

There’s a possibly interesting academic book coming out, I don’t know when, called Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal. Since I’m rather ambivalent about the New Atheists, and have some serious misgivings about Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens especially, I contributed a chapter. It’s called “The Return of Faith”; if you want to read it and give me your comments, I would appreciate it.

I have very little idea who else is going to be in the book. I did, however, stumble upon another chapter put up on an authors’ web site: William A. Stahl’s “One-Dimensional Rage: The Social Epistemology of the New Atheism and Fundamentalism.”

The title says most of it. It has some good parts, but largely it’s the sort of philosophical posturing that has unfortunately become common in some humanities and social science circles. It is little but an attempt to validate stereotypes of atheist rage and the notion that fundamentalists and the new atheists are mirror images of one another. My guess is that Stahl read his theologically-driven expectations into the New Atheist literature, and layered on the philosophical bullshit as a way of avoiding most of the substantive claims that the targets of his criticism make.

We’ll see the rest when the book comes out. I hope I don’t end up wishing I’d never got on board in the first place.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University


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