New Atheists Punks

The lovely and talented Greg Laden makes an admirable effort to make the “so-called New Atheists”[1] out to be totally punk:

The new atheist response to being told to quiet down is to point out that being told to quiet down (or be more civil or follow certain rules) is step one (or two) in a series of steps that the established religio-normative culture routinely uses to end the argument and let things get back to what they think is normal.

No one likes to be told to shut up. And, to be fair to Greg, he is primarily describing the way “so-called New Atheists” feel, not saying that this represents some objective reality. The rest of the post includes an excellent discussion of the beneficial diversity of opinions and approaches. Continue reading “New Atheists Punks”

Defining “skepticism”

io9 just highlighted a study about why friends fight. I’m thinking that the quote they pulled out that might cause some fights on its own. From the study’s press release:

This included a list of “triggers”-descriptions of behaviors that someone might find annoying. One example was the word “skepticism” which was described as when someone is overly disbelieving of information that he/she receives, when he/she questions things that are generally accepted, or when he/she is very hard to convince of something.

I think I know some folks in the Worldwide Skeptical Movement that will disagree vehemently with this definition. Thus highlighting the branding issues associated with picking a name historically replete with negative connotations. Still, “Brights” was worse.