New Atheism

Stephen LeDrew wrote an interesting post about the influence the so-called “New Atheism” movement had on society, pointing out some intriguing similarities between our militant atheists and, surprisingly, the far right wing conservatism. The one observation which I don’t find completely accurate, and I think it’s because I live in Europe, is that the “New Atheism” isn’t regarded highly in well-educated circles any more. I found a surprising number of people working in philosophy, logic, computer science and especially in natural sciences to still cherish Dawkins et al., which was always rather surprising to me. It most likely has to do with a rather loose coupling between “New Atheists” and any political movements in Europe (modulo UK perhaps?). 1

In any case, the article is worth a read, and LeDrew’s book lands on my wishlist.

Thanks for the link, Truls.


  1. K made a good comment here by pointing out another difference between aggressive atheists in Europe and in the US: here they don’t have an aggressive counterpart. Religious fundamentalism especially in its protestant form is extremely rare in Europe, and there isn’t much political debate in which Christian fundamentalists would be visible. This may also explain why “New Atheists” don’t see themselves as avantgarde on the old continent. 

“Where the Conflict Really Lies”

Since it’s Christmas, I feel it’s only appropriate to share some thoughts about a book on philosophy of religion I recently read.

Written by contemporary analytic philosophy’s chief theist and protestant, Alvin Plantinga, “Where the Conflict Really Lies” is a careful and systematic study of the (alleged) conflicts between science, naturalism and religion.1 As far as I am aware, this book is the only such comprehensive and earnest account of what exactly Christianity says about, e.g., theory of evolution and natural selection, among other controversial topics. I don’t feel competent enough to argue about some points and original arguments Plantinga makes about naturalism, I think it’s best I refer the interested reader to a long review by Thomas Nagel, but at the same time I can wholeheartedly recommend Plantinga’s book to atheists and theists alike—to the former, because it’s good to know what you’re fighting against, and to the latter, because it’s good to know what it is exactly that you believe in. And it really is surprising to see how poorly researched are the many arguments made by scientific, militant atheists of Dawkins-kind. Actually, regardless of whether you agree with Plantinga’s religious stance and his strongly theistic point of view, you have to give him credit for defending theism and Christianity in a strongly atheistic environment which analytic philosophy most definitely is. It really is a shame there’s so few serious religious analytic philosophers.

So, whether you want to feel stronger about your atheism or want to get better at fighting off those pesky atheist’s attacks, read Plangina’s book. What better time to do this than Christmas holidays?

Merry Christmas everyone!


  1. Plantinga argues that his points are not Christianity-centric and can be applied to theism in general, although he stays away from “indecisive deism” or agnosticism. And he is himself a Christian, and can’t speak for Muslims or Buddhists, or others.