Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Sexism and the New Atheism" from CounterPunch

Here, by Jeff Sparrow, about the treatment of Rebecca Watson. Good article, but, strangely enough, makes the whole thing a contrast between their condemnation of Islam and how they treat folks. In any case, the swagger of the New Atheist movement leaves much to be desired, and I think that its origin really lies in the repressed, overwhelmingly male, online nerd/geek/techie culture that much of the New Atheism developed in before hitting the mainstream. The same sorts of things that you see in stuff like the Reddit  editor Michael Brutsch aka Violentacrez' actions are present in the New Atheist subculture, as they are in Objectivist culture, as they are in much of the rest of geek/tech and internet centric culture.

It's a sad thing, and dangerous, the product of guys who never grew out of the ethos of early adolescent sleepovers where there would be all night video game playing, chip eating, and maybe even, oh my god, PORN, if you could get a hold of it.

*on edit: my personal opinion about the "New Atheists", or many of them at least, is that they're folks who have taken to the idea of a superficial understanding of Reason as the cornerstone of a self-validating belief system that makes them think they're in touch with the vanguard of society, because Reason intersects with science, even though many of the rank and file are really just scientific wannabes who read popular physics accounts and tell themselves how smart they are.

*on edit 2: here's an anecdote. I was hanging out at a geek heavy place and ended up sitting between two people who were having a conversation where one of the guys, in his mid forties I'd guess, was telling the other guy, of the same age, about how he was really enthusiastic about reading "Gödel, Escher, Bach". The other guy had told the first one that he was a cryptographer and they were talking a little bit about that. After the reader had finished and gotten up, the crypto guy says to me that he read that book when he was in high school. Yet, that was the dude's geek cred right there, and he probably thought he was a genius for delving through "Gödel, Escher, Bach".

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