Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms - blog by Gurdur

 




A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

Rating: 4 votes, 4.25 average.
Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms
Submit "Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms" to Digg Submit "Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms" to del.icio.us Submit "Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms" to StumbleUpon Submit "Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms" to Google
Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 07:21 AM (07:21) by Gurdur
Updated 13-Oct-2010 at 03:49 PM (15:49) by Gurdur

Since I'm going to be doing several blog posts very soon on certain recent incredible antics by wannabes, I am going to provide here definitions of some of the phrases currently tossed around in hapless word-salads on many atheist blogs and boards.
  • Atheism: Anyone who vocally rejects belief in all gods is an atheist. I am just such an atheist.

    Identification: most often self-applied, sometimes a label applied by others.
  • Antitheism/Anti-theism: anyone who makes a huge constant practice out of really going on a downer on religion as a whole.

    Identification: This label of antitheist/anti-theist is most often self-applied (anti-theists tend to think other atheists are too soft on religion, or too quiet, or something).
  • New Atheists: The term "Wikipedia link for New_atheists New_atheists" should be properly applied only to Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett, Victor J. Stenger and Christopher Hitchens.

    Those five people all came out with books that sold well during the period 2004 to 2008, all centered around the thesis that religion itself as a whole had to be combated, and a sense that that combat had become urgent. There were other themes often but not always in common, ranging from promotion of science as an answer to everything (very common though not universal to the five, veering off into scientism every now and then), to Christopher Hitchens' support of the invasion of Iraq (which Richard Dawkins was against), but the two themes really held in common were anti-theism and an urgent feeling of the need of anti-theism.

    There has recently been a couple of tries at fake legitimization by PZ Myers by claiming people like Wikipedia link for David Hume David Hume as New Atheists (of very long ago, obviously, seeing Hume died in 1776; as shall be seen while moving along through this and my other soon blog posts, such claims are bogus).

    Identification: the term New Atheists has both been self-applied and applied by others opposed to them.
  • Gnu atheists: The term "Gnu Atheist(s)" was recently invented by Jerry Coyne (edited to add: actually, invented by Hamilton Jacobi), apparently as a way of having a confused dig at those who criticise some atheists for being abusive; but it's as handy a term as any other here for those I would normally term the extremists, and those into atheism for their own narcissism rather than for the sake of atheism itself.

    Gnu atheists would be those loosely self-identifying as New Atheists but not actually of that group of five described above. This group would include those like Ophelia Benson, Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, frequent commentators like Hitch, Ken Pidcock, etc.

    Identification: a label actually first used by Jerry Coyne (as far as I can see) and others to apparently try pretending abusive atheists simply don't exist, and trying to mock their way out of the problem; the label became self-applied by Ophelia Benson and commentators on her blog, again apparently in a mocking way to try pretending no atheists could ever be abusive. I'm simply going to use the label for them, it is after all shorter than "extremist" or "those who like to be abusive for the sake of being abusive, or who try pretending none such people exist within the atheist movement".
    .
    Edited (12 October 2010) long afterwards to add:
    They've now even invented a new logo graphic for themselves, forsooth. The whole thing doesn't work out as well as they think it does for them; the next time some Gnu whines about schisms inside the atheist movement, it's time to remind them of just who is playing tribalist politics.
  • Accommodationism: The term "accommodationist" goes all the way back to 1964, and is cited by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as meaning someone "who adapts to or compromises with an opposing view", and is related to the old "Uncle Tom" slur.

    Back sometime around May/June 2009, following the release of the book, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future (USA edition, British edition), by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, some like Jerry Coyne started applying the term "accommodationist" as a disparagement to people like Mooney, Kirshenbaum, Michael Ruse and so on.

    What is an accommodationist supposed to be? The definitions are as myriad as the number of stars, but the most usual Gnu atheist definition makes a claim that (alleged) accommodationists think that religion should not be criticised. This is one of the standard dishonest lines peddled often. Another similar line of untrue claim is that the "accommodationists" as a group want atheists to shut up, a canard exploded a long time ago way back in June, 2009, but still endlessly repeated.

    Just why these canards, and what purpose they serve, is something I will explore in coming blog posts. Jerry Coyne made a very childish attempt at getting others to come up with new abusive names for anyone he doesn't like, names like "betraytheist", "faitheist", "Godlycoddlers", "Placatheists", "Credophiles", "Betraytheists" and "Muzzle-ems".

    As for myself: since I am not an accommodationist by any stretch by any of the definitions peddled by the Gnus, and since I am an open and vocal atheist, then I'm simply a non-conformist and an atheist who is rather disgusted by the dishonest antics of some of the Gnu Atheists. Here, as always, I'm voicing my opinion as an atheist. I will be rather clear; my personal opinion of the New Atheists, as defined here, is much much higher than my opinion of the Gnu atheists as a whole. I do after all like collecting Dawkins' books, and a fair few of Dennett's.

    Identification: The label "accommodationist" is almost always applied by others to alleged accommodationists, and hardly ever self-applied; Chris Mooney, for example, explicitly rejects the label. He had previously used it a while to talk back to the Gnu atheists, since it was the label applied to him and others, but his use of it was always only a form of shorthand out of courtesy to those applying it.
  • Civility: it seems incredible to have to define civility. But it's become necessary, owing to a very bogus Gnu tactic. One of the most pertinent criticisms of the Gnu atheists that Chris Mooney made way back in October 2009 was that the major stumbling block to any reconciliation between the Gnu atheists and the so-called accommodationists was the issue of personal abuse; a lot of the Gnus simply use a huge deal of (usually irrelevant and highly incorrect) personal abuse, something which I've often documented in my own blog here, and something a good many other atheists like Phil Plait or Dylan Evans have criticised -- or even as Richard Dawkins has criticised.

    Identification: Gnu atheists like to either claim personal abuse is never employed by their side, or that it was somehow (magically) deserved, or try pretending everyone is abusive, or that the call for civility is actually a codeword for the suppression of atheist especially Gnu atheist voices. This is of course highly reminiscent of the usual argument tried by so many internet trolls of all stripes and camps.

    The ones criticising Gnu atheists most often just stick with everyday conceptions of the term civility and its application in real life.

So much for defining the terms so often used; it is important to realise that many of the arguments within the atheist movement as a whole long predate the publishing of Unscientific America, and long predate Mooney and Kirshenbaum; in fact, arguments about rudeness and so on have been tottering along for nigh on 50 years in the USA (for example, see the debates about Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her tactics), and for around the last 10 years within Britain.

So, definitions done, onwards to my next blog posts!

Below, a screen-capture of the image apparently from or used by Jerry Coyne:


Posted in Uncategorized
Views 12684 Comments 17
Total Comments 17

Comments

                   Post a Comment   Post a Comment
  1. Old Comment
    Never's Avatar
    I've read some of those links and it seems everyone is making up labels and then arguing about them. I'm not one to label myself, so this isn't easy. I considered Ung-atheist, but I don't really use atheist. Maybe Ung-non-believer? Possibly just "me".
    Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 07:54 AM (07:54) by Never Never is offline
    Updated 02-Aug-2010 at 08:00 AM (08:00) by Never
  2. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Never View Comment
    ... Ung-atheist ...
    Good one. I like it. I am now an Ung-atheist.

    Quote:
    Possibly just "me".
    Well, now, that's exactly how I feel too, when dealing with this crap.

    I have provided all these definitions just as a guide for people, since they are so often bandied around on atheist sites; but bluntly, I think an awful lot of those atheists simply need to get a life.
    Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 08:11 AM (08:11) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  3. Old Comment

    Nice article!

    Nice article, fellow Ung-Atheist! Being involved with the Open Source movement, I'm rather upset that those people appropriate our beloved Gnu.

    BTW, Wikipedia is case sensitive, so it should be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_atheists.
    Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 11:35 AM (11:35) by mintar mintar is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Nice article!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mintar View Comment
    Nice article, fellow Ung-Atheist!
    Many thanks! My oh my, has Never started a movement here? Does this have traction?

    Quote:
    Being involved with the Open Source movement, I'm rather upset that those people appropriate our beloved Gnu.
    That too, and apparently, deliberately.

    Quote:
    BTW, Wikipedia is case sensitive, so it should be http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_atheists.
    Many thanks! I've edited the blog post to reflect that.
    Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 11:43 AM (11:43) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Makbawehuh's Avatar
    An Ung-Atheist?

    Also, I wish they wouldn't try to troll. From everything I've seen they're 1) bad at it and 2) give us real trolls a bad name.
    Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 08:06 PM (20:06) by Makbawehuh Makbawehuh is offline
  6. Old Comment

    Extremism

    Luckily I'm no extremist, even though you try to brand me as such. That's what people get for accepting your invitation for discussion and being honest with you? Hmm. I have spend a lot of time engaging with your questions and argument, as people can find on this very blog in the comments section. Rather extreme, I would agree given how one gets treated and branded in return. You neither respect my time, my effort nor my right to have a different opinion.

    You make people out to be something they aren't. That's shameful. Auf Wiedersehen und ich hoffe Du findest einen netteren Kern irgendwo. Bye.
    Posted 02-Aug-2010 at 11:09 PM (23:09) by Hitch
  7. Old Comment
    I have to admit that I find the "Gnu Atheist" label a bit odd, since when I think of "GNU" and "atheist," I think of Richard Stallman, but that's the geek in me talking.
    Posted 03-Aug-2010 at 03:31 AM (03:31) by J. J. Ramsey
  8. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    Extremism

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hitch View Comment
    Luckily I'm no extremist, even though you try to brand me as such.
    No, Hitch, what I would brand you as is the kind of person who tries very hard to pretend the abusers do not exist, and the kind of person who would try an awful so-obviously manipulative attack as the one you tried last, where you lied.

    I answered you in full that time, and now here you are trying the same kind of manipulative dishonesty all over again.

    Quote:
    That's what people get for accepting your invitation for discussion and being honest with you?
    No, what I get from you for having invited you is a whole line of bullshit where you also be implicitly rude to others, and utterly evasive of the actual topic.

    Quote:
    I have spend a lot of time engaging with your questions and argument, as people can find on this very blog in the comments section.
    Yes, indeed they can! But they won't be impressed! (see the blog post and the comments under it in full).

    Quote:
    Rather extreme, I would agree given how one gets treated and branded in return. You neither respect my time, my effort nor my right to have a different opinion.
    I have something to say about your "respect" for differing opinions later, Hitch. In full, on a new blog post, since I am very unimpressed by your conduct and your hypocrisy here. Do note, by the way, I leave all your comments up, despite the weak attempt at trolling in this one and the last one.

    Quote:
    .... Auf Wiedersehen
    What, again? That's what you said last time.

    Quote:
    und ich hoffe Du findest einen netteren Kern irgendwo. Bye.
    == "I hope you find a nice kernel somewhere".

    Hitch, this is ridiculous.

    But also funny. I like it. A nice kernel, eh? Or maybe you meant nucleus?
    Posted 03-Aug-2010 at 04:06 AM (04:06) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 03-Aug-2010 at 01:17 PM (13:17) by Gurdur
  9. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by J. J. Ramsey View Comment
    I have to admit that I find the "Gnu Atheist" label a bit odd, since when I think of "GNU" and "atheist," I think of Richard Stallman, but that's the geek in me talking.
    That's what pissed off the second commentator, Mintar.

    We all have our own different focuses.
    Posted 03-Aug-2010 at 04:08 AM (04:08) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 03-Aug-2010 at 04:24 AM (04:24) by Gurdur
  10. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Makbawehuh View Comment
    ... Also, I wish they wouldn't try to troll. From everything I've seen they're 1) bad at it and 2) give us real trolls a bad name.
    Indeedy, everyone else has their own focuses.

    You'll be happy to know both PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson, as well as assorted others, read this blog post of mine. Both are outraged -- outraged! -- by it.

    Ophelia Benson wants to claim original rights -- and user-rights -- to the creation and use of the Gnu appellation. Well, she's plumb out of luck on the user-rights issue. Right out there in the public domain now, too bad.

    It's rather funny. Benson claims I stalk her with close hostile attention, and then she whines I don't pay close enough attention to her, and I don't give her credit for the term.

    Sheeeeesh. Some people just can't make up their minds about how they want things, eh?
    Posted 03-Aug-2010 at 06:08 AM (06:08) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
  11. Old Comment
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gurdur
    Ophelia Benson wants to claim original rights -- and user-rights -- to the creation and use of the Gnu appellation.
    Not too sure what you mean by "original rights," since Benson gave full credit to "Hamilton Jacobi" for coining the term. Plus, her bracketing her remarks with "Hmph!" and "So there!" makes it pretty clear that she was being tongue-in-cheek about the whole "rights" issue.
    Posted 03-Aug-2010 at 11:20 PM (23:20) by J. J. Ramsey
  12. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by J. J. Ramsey View Comment
    Not too sure what you mean by "original rights," since Benson gave full credit to "Hamilton Jacobi" for coining the term.
    She's always welcome to come along and correct things herself. Mind you, she doesn't appear to be able to handle reasoned disagreement well, and she ran away the last time she came here.

    Quote:
    Plus, her bracketing her remarks with "Hmph!" and "So there!" makes it pretty clear that she was being tongue-in-cheek about the whole "rights" issue.
    Given her peculiar ways and her chronic bizarre claims and contentless flames, I wouldn't know what was actually humour on her part, and I find such claims more than dubious. Your claim is noted, but nowhere near proven. Given the rest of what she said, genuine humour seems hardly likely on her part. Is she capable of it?

    Not snark. Not stupid flaming. Can she actually do genuine humour? Just mildly wondering, since I see no evidence of it.
    Posted 04-Aug-2010 at 05:15 AM (05:15) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 04-Aug-2010 at 05:21 AM (05:21) by Gurdur
  13. Old Comment

    thanks for the definitions

    Your post seems to be the only one which does it. Prior to knowing about 'gnu atheism' I had essentially been using the term 'born again atheist' for that group for, I think, obvious reasons. In fact I think I'm going to keep using my term because of the GNU's Not Unix overload of 'gnu' that other's have mentioned. :P
    Posted 07-Oct-2010 at 02:22 AM (02:22) by HappyEvilSlosh
  14. Old Comment
    Gurdur's Avatar

    thanks for the definitions

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HappyEvilSlosh View Comment
    Your post seems to be the only one which does it. Prior to knowing about 'gnu atheism' I had essentially been using the term 'born again atheist' for that group for, I think, obvious reasons. In fact I think I'm going to keep using my term because of the GNU's Not Unix overload of 'gnu' that other's have mentioned. :P
    Thanks, HappyEvilSlosh, and that works well too!
    Posted 07-Oct-2010 at 07:31 AM (07:31) by Gurdur Gurdur is offline
    Updated 07-Oct-2010 at 07:43 AM (07:43) by Gurdur
  15. Old Comment

    The gnudean people's front

    Posted 25-Feb-2011 at 04:31 PM (16:31) by Unregistered
  16. Old Comment

    Professed atheists

    Many of the terms above look to me the be off the mark. I class atheists who talk constantly about being an atheist and argue with the claims of religionists as being PROFESSED (or professing) atheistS.

    Likewise in Ireland, when atheists form into an organisation, I find Irish Catholic Atheists, based on their behaviour patterns. The idea of not believing in god type things is not new so being an atheist can't be new.

    It's even very likely that it was atheists who through their own local self interest founded organised religions. If you had the means to study the movements of stars and had been in a position to predict cosmic events such as an eclipse you were in the best position to use that information to manipulate others as being the spokesman for a god. As in "god has told me if you do not...the sky will never see light again. The chumps march up the long steps with those whose to be sacrificed (on the advice of gods spokesman on earth) and just before the eclipse is about to end the atheists says "the god [thing] has told me he's satisfied.... Whoope the sky clears and light returns...

    dubusairl@yahoo.com
    Posted 22-Oct-2011 at 08:59 PM (20:59) by Unregistered
  17. Old Comment

    An atheist

    An atheist is a human who does not believe in the existence of gods. It is not someone who SAYS they don't believe in god.
    Posted 22-Oct-2011 at 09:01 PM (21:01) by FXR
Post a Comment Post a Comment
Total Trackbacks 2

Trackbacks

Twitter Trackbacks for Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms - blog by Gurdur - Blogs on the Heathen Hub [heathen-hub.com] on Topsy.com

02-Aug-2010, 04:11 PM (16:11)
Gnu Atheists, accommodationists, New Atheists: definitions of the terms - blog by Gurdur - Blogs on the Heathen Hub heathen-hub.com/blog.php?b=474 –

My personal take on the "New Atheism" | The Alethiophile

30-Jan-2012, 05:53 PM (17:53)
qVnJlJT9+NWZhc2EvRTlMSEx+JSs='}); addLoadEvent(function(){linktracker_init('31941879',165);});

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 09:00 AM (09:00).

       

Credits and thanks:
Basic Style design: Design By: Miner Skinz.com
(much altered by Gurdur)

For smilies:

Koloboks, including Aiwan, ViShenk, Just Cuz, Laie, Connie, snoozer, Viannen,
and especially Mother Goose too.
KitKatty. and PederDingo, and phantompanther.

For help, coding, and/or modifications:

Different people at vBulletin.com, and a whole lot of people -- too many to be individually named, sorry -- at vBulletin.org

For artwork, avatars, backgrounds and so on:

KitKatty, and verte, and britpoplass


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright is asserted for the Heathen Hub itself and for its owner by its owner, from 2008 onwards. Copyright of individual posts remains the property of the original poster, however by posting on the Hub the poster grants the Hub the rights to host and present the posted messages for perpetuity. The Hub is in no way responsible for opinions or messages posted in any way on the Hub by its members. Please also see this here. Copyright of individual icons and other graphics, as for individual vBulletin styles, remains the property of the original owner/creator. Copyright for the vBulletin software itself, and the vBulletin Blogs software, remains with Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd, as in the copyright notice above.
Welcome to a place to talk about atheism, religion, science, humanism, evolution, politics, Creationism, literature, reason, rational inquiry, logic, cooking, reading, and travel - the Hub: a community for everyone.