A few days ago, P.Z. Myers published his assessment of new atheism: “The train wreck that was the New Atheism.” It’s nothing short of an evisceration, including a scathing takedown of the four horsemen. (Myers saves his choicest criticisms for Sam Harris.)
To all that, I say yea and amen. Though I should think Myers owes us some exercises in penitential satisfaction before his restoration is complete given that new atheism’s many critics were raising similar concerns a decade ago.
But in this article, I want to highlight and respond to one key passage in Myers’ article:
“Mainly what happened is that the credibility of science was stolen to bolster rationalizing prior bigotries. People were drawn into the Church of the New Atheism by Islamophobia, but rather than being enlightened about the unity of humanity, they instead learned that bastardized evolutionary theories could be weaponized to justify all kinds of abuses, because that’s what the self-appointed “leaders” were doing.”
I agree with Myers that the new atheists “stole” (or as I would prefer to say, “appropriated”) the credibility of science to bolster their ideology. My only concern is that Myers and countless others like him continue to do the same thing when they promote the nonsense idea that natural science supports naturalism, atheism, and/or secularism.