Friday, September 19, 2014

New Atheists vs. Social Justice Warriors - round 2

When I last blogged about the ongoing war between the New Atheists (most prominently represented by Richard cranky old man Dawkins) and the SJWs (lead by Adam censorship Lee) the New Atheists were on top thanks to Dawkins being less obnoxious than usual.

But thanks to Dawkins remembering who he really is, and Sam Harris never forgetting, the Social Justice Warriors are back on top.

Lee had an op-ed about Dawkins in the Guardian recently: Richard Dawkins has lost it: ignorant sexism gives atheism a bad name:
But over the last few months, Dawkins showed signs of détente with his feminist critics – even progress. He signed a joint letter with the writer Ophelia Benson, denouncing and rejecting harassment; he even apologized for the “Dear Muslima” letter. On stage at a conference in Oxford in August, Dawkins claimed to be a feminist and said that everyone else should be, too. 
Then another prominent male atheist, Sam Harris, crammed his foot in his mouth and said that atheist activism lacks an “estrogen vibe” and was “to some degree intrinsically male”. And, just like that, the brief Dawkins Spring was over. 
On Twitter these last few days, Dawkins has reverted to his old, sexist ways and then some. He’s been very busy snarling about how feminists are shrill harridans who just want an excuse to take offense, and how Harris’s critics (and his own) are not unlike thought police witch-hunter lynch mobs. Dawkins claimed that his critics are engaged in “clickbait for profit”, that they “fake outrage”, and that he wished there were some way to penalize them.  
For good measure, Dawkins argued that rape victims shouldn’t be considered trustworthy if they were drinking.
I was just discussing evolutionary psychology with anthropologist David Price and others on Facebook today, thanks to this excellent criticism in the Nation, and right in the middle I saw the story about that idiot Sam Harris - Harris claims that atheism and skepticism are innately masculine.

Although I despise Harris for his right-wing hideousness (supporting ethnic profiling, torture, and opposing gun control), and general stupidity, he was the only member of the New Atheist "four horsemen" (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Pinker) whom I thought I had no reason to accuse of misogyny. I should have known better.

As always, the main question about Sam Harris is this: Why does anyone take Sam Harris seriously? 

Favorite quote from that article, which is over a year and a half old but still relevant:
Before delving further into this NRA wet-dream of an essay, let us reflect on an important facet of Harris’s personality. The common thread running through all of Harris’s logic-abortions, the key to understanding how a purported “intellectual” can be so consistently wrong and so morally repugnant, is his unbridled cowardice — both of the intellectual variety and an all-pervasive, crapping-his-pants fear that manifests itself in the form of sophistry and a brazen disregard for following the available evidence to its logical conclusion.
It is true though that SJWs like to engage in witchhunts as I found out myself directly when I was targeted by Mikki Kendall and K. Tempest Bradford, but I had a good laugh over Rebecca Watson's payback of Richard Dawkins' infamous Dear Muslima letter - Dawkins, Harris and friends like to imagine that if they get any criticism for the mind-bogglingly stupid, sexist things they say, they are the victims of a "witchhunt." 

For the record I don't consider Watson a SJW, although Mikki Kendall was promoted at least once on her Skepchick site. 

So the SJWs have won round 2 against the New Atheists. Now what group-think censorious awfulness will the SJWs come up with next to show that they, not New Atheists, are the biggest assholes? I expect we'll know within a month or so. 

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