The term New Atheism which first appeared in the November 2006 edition of Wired magazine, is frequently applied to a series of six best-selling books by five authors that appeared in the period between 2004–2008. These authors include Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger and Christopher Hitchens. The four most prominent writers of the New Atheist movement are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett.
Dissent Magazine declared concerning the New Atheism:
|“||A number of prominent authors and scientists have published books in the past year that advocate a "New Atheism." The books, which include Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell, Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion, and Christopher Hitchens's God is Not Great, have sparked considerable public controversy across the political spectrum.||”|
Dr. Alfred Mohler Jr. describes some of the key attributes of the "New Atheism":
|“|| Now, WIRED magazine comes out with a cover story on atheism for its November 2006 issue. In "The New Atheism," WIRED contributing editor Gary Wolf explains that this newly assertive form of atheism declares a very simple message: "No heaven. No hell. Just science."...
Wolf accomplishes a great deal in his article, thoughtfully introducing the work of militant atheists such as Dawkins, Harris, and Dennett. At the same time, he probes more deeply into the actual meaning of the New Atheism as a movement and a message.
At the beginning of his article, he gets right to the point: "The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there's no excuse for shirking."
Impact of the New Atheism
The "New Atheism" has not had much of an impact in terms of gaining new adherents to atheism. In a March 10, 2008 USA Today article Stephen Prothero stated the following regarding the impact of the "New Atheism":
|“|| Numbers lie, but they also tell tales untrustworthy and otherwise. So the key question stirring around the much discussed U.S Religious Landscape Survey released in late February by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is what tale does it state about the state of the union.
For some, the story of this survey, based on interviews in multiple languages with more than 35,000 adults, is the strength of American Religion.
Not too long ago, I wrote that American atheism was going the way of the freak show. As books by Christopher Hitchens and other "new atheists" climbed the best seller lists, I caught a lot of flak for that prophecy. But atheist make up only 1.6% of respondents to this survey....
A prime reason for the ineffectiveness of the "new atheism" is the shallowness of its material. For example, even atheist philosopher Michael Ruse stated that that Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion made him "embarrassed to be an atheist".
|“|| Anti-faith proselytising is a growth industry. But its increasingly hysterical flag-bearers are heading for a spectacular failure...
These increasingly hysterical books may boost the pension, they may be morale boosters for a particular kind of American atheism that feels victimized - the latest candidate in a flourishing American tradition - but one suspects that they are going to do very little to challenge the appeal of a phenomenon they loathe too much to understand.
Gender and racial demographic data concerning the New Atheist movement
Survey data and website tracking data of prominent atheists' websites indicate that in the Western World, the New Atheism movement appears to be significantly less appealing to women and racial minorities.
New Atheism leaders and problems with being overweight
As noted earlier, the main authors of the New Atheism movement include Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Victor J. Stenger and Christopher Hitchens. The New Atheism movement claims to be pro-science, yet three out of five of these men have have had issues with being overweight as can be seen HERE and HERE and HERE PZ Myers is also a leader within the New Atheism movement and PZ Myers has had issues with being overweight.
On the other hand, PZ Myers and a significant amount of other New Atheism leaders, seem to lack a full appreciation of the worthiness of nutritional science, exercise science and the latest findings of medical science. (see: also Atheism and obesity). As of May 2011, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have not publicly commented on the significant problems the New Atheism leadership has experienced in terms of overweight members.
New Atheism movement and contention between atheist men and women
See also: Abrasiveness of Richard Dawkins
Within the militant New Atheism movement, there appears to be a significant amount of contention between men and women with complaints from women that there is a significant amount of misogny within the atheist community and its leadership is too heavily populated with men. This may partly explain why Western atheism is less appealing to Western women (see: Atheism appears to be significantly less appealing to women). In addition, the significant amount of contention between men and women may apply to Western atheism as a whole. As noted earlier, Wired magazine made the observation that atheists tend to be quarrelsome, socially challenged men.
- Atheist whining
- Atheist bullying
- Atheist factions
- History of atheism
- Atheism 3.0
- Richard Dawkins, obesity has enveloped your marketing campaign - satire
- Where was Sam Harris when the New Atheists needed him? - satire
- The New Atheism by Gary Gilley
- The New Atheism and the Dogma of Darwinism by Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr.
- New Atheist atheology by Michael Egnor
- The New Atheism and Morality by J.M. Njoroge at Ravi Zacharias Ministries
- New Atheists - by David B. Hart, First things
- The New Atheism Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz, June 16, 2007
- The Rise of the New Atheists - CNN, 2006
- American Faith: A Work In Progress by Stephen Prothero, USA Today, March 10, 2008, page 11A