Viewpoint: What ‘New Atheists’ get wrong about science and religion

, | | November 6, 2018

New Atheism is a literary movement that sprung up in 2004, led by prominent authors like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. Although they were right about a lot of things, the New Atheists missed something essential about the role of religion.

John Gray is a British philosopher whose latest book, Seven Types of Atheism, explores the history of atheism. It’s both an affirmation and a critique of atheism, written by an atheist who is aware of all its contradictions.

[Gray:] The New Atheists — Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and others — attack religions in the sublime confidence that these religions are myths and that they themselves harbor no myths, but that’s not true.

In many cases, the New Atheists are animated by 19th-century myths of various kinds: myths of human advancement, myths of what science can and cannot do, and all kinds of other myths.

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Genesis is not a theory of the origins of the world. It’s not obsolete, primitive science. It’s not a solution to the problem of knowledge. Religion isn’t like that. Religion is a body of practices, of stories and images, whereby humans create or find meanings in their lives.

In other words, it’s not a search for explanation. Even if everything in the world were suddenly explained by science, we would still be asking what it all means.

Read full, original post: Why science can’t replace religion

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.

3 thoughts on “Viewpoint: What ‘New Atheists’ get wrong about science and religion”

  1. The important question is: Is there really an objective God, a self-existent Creator? Does “he” contact us? Can we contact “him”? My conclusion to date is No, but it is not an especially happy one.

  2. ‘ attack religions in the sublime confidence that these religions are myths and that they themselves harbor no myths, but that’s not true.’

    Religions are myths – only considered as such in the absence of evidence. Given the millenia of supernatural claims with no good supporting evidence, combined with the fact supernatural (by definition) is not supported by currently understood natural laws, mythicism is the reasonable position to hold by default.

    Harbouring of myths – only to the extent they haven’t seriously considered the position as such. I fully expect each one of those named, along with a majority of atheists who have actively taken that position, would be prepared to change their position given good evidence.

    The quote in the above article seems heavily biased towards an unsupported conclusion.
    Disclaimer, haven’t read any deeper than this article.

  3. I read a lot of stuff by authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins and never have I heard the term “new atheism” before. Seems like the writer of this little blurb just made up a term to try and make people more intelligent then himself seem a little less credible. For clarification, there is no new atheism, or old atheism. Atheism is characterized by a single belief that there is no god and/or gods. Nothing else ties one atheist to another, even a belief in science. An atheists can even believe in farries and unicorns if they don’t believe in god. Most atheists ALSO believe in science because it is the next natural conclusion after realizing that religion is make believe. After all, if you are smart enough to over come endocrination into a faith, then you are probably smart enough to appreciate that the universe is governed by physical laws.

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