You first need to point out that John Gray is not that John Gray lest people dismiss it out of hand.
He's a pretty out there thinker and one of the first to voice that the left/right spectrum of politics has ceased to have relevance in liberal democracy and that secular humanism has walked down a blind alley and can't find it's way out - and that it is born of religious thinking more than anyone would confortably admit. I haven't read this article in ages. Time to revisit.
I worked in the anti-nuke movement in the eighties (in-system grassroots. Helped shut down the hanford bomb factory with votes and phone calls -tens of thousands in the Puget Sound area alone) and I saw ideology then that disturbed me.
Even the thousands that helped turn Hanford into the superfund cleanup site it is now instead of letting the hydrogen build up on the subterranean cans of plutonium waste under the desert of eastern Washington state - often had a near religious fervor. It was then I knew that all ideologies stifled free thought and real imagination - even when I agreed on their aim.
For me - there is a definite difference between a movement and an ideological trend. It is very tough to maintain a movement. Once it becomes large enough to require a bureaucracy to manage - it needs to be revamped and shaken up.
This is why I can't stand when people say: "Atheist leaders like Dawkins and Hitchens." They are not my leaders - even if I respect their ideas and willingness to be vocal.
Good post Howard. (translation: I pretty much agree)
I'd be interested in your opinion of The Atheist Nexus becoming a non profit organisation.I'm considering removing myself from my association with AN for precisely the reasons you mentioned. To be recognised as a non profit organisation I suspect AN has needed to claim representative status. That bothers me as I don't know who or what they claim to represent. Nor am I aware of their agenda. 'As an Atheist ' , I have no agenda.
I no longer belong or associate with any political or quasi political organisations of any kind.
Well - I'm all for the provision of a forum such as this. And I'm not positive that they have to declare they represent any ideology in particular to get non-profit status. Guess we need to ask them. I haven't felt any restriction yet in my ability to voice my opinions and see a good deal of multi-lateral inquiry going on here. So far, it is a service to many of us. As long as it is a facilitation of free expression and not a political organization - I'm okay with it. I guess I partially feel a need to stick around and and decry absolutism wherever I see it - especially since absolutism is what I see as the very worst aspect of religion.
Dawkins's "memetic theory of religion" is a classic example of the nonsense that is spawned when Darwinian thinking is applied outside its proper sphere. Along with Dennett, who also holds to a version of the theory, Dawkins maintains that religious ideas survive because they would be able to survive in any "meme pool", or else because they are part of a "memeplex" that includes similar memes, such as the idea that, if you die as a martyr, you will enjoy 72 virgins. Unfortunately, the theory of memes is science only in the sense that Intelligent Design is science. Strictly speaking, it is not even a theory. Talk of memes is just the latest in a succession of ill-judged Darwinian metaphors.
This amazes me, and I wish I knew more about the author.
This has been my position since I first heard of the "meme theory" bullshit; and I have endured endless ridicule for denouncing Dawkins as exactly the same kind of half-witted zealot he accuses everyone else of being. It is good to see in print, ideas that I have of my own. Obviously, the author is far more articulate in his disseminations, and perhaps that has been my flaw.
The bold portion, (my emphasis), had me laughing so hard, I had tears in my eyes.
and I have endured endless ridicule for denouncing Dawkins as exactly the same kind of half-witted zealot he accuses everyone else of being.
In light of your neo-Beck, paint-by-numbers anti-Obama rant, I hope you are aware how absurd you sound. Black kettles and pots, throwing stones in glass houses and all that. If you can't control your own mouth from frothing, you have no business pointing your finger at others.
Yes - you do have the right to be stupid and you will die defending that right.
So, who took time out to watch our President, Chairman Maobama, perform at max narcissism, with smugness, arrogance, and self-aggrandizement for all? etc.
Drop the pretence of objectivity, rationality and clear thought and I'll be happy. You are fully capable of ranting with the looniest of the loons and your pantomime of being a reasonable, autonimous entity is very deceptive and benefits no one.
Oh and I just realised you're probably too obtuse to understand my gripe. It's not the substance of your rant that is nauseating, it's the delivery. It reeks of hog farm and moonshine and is music to the ears of neocons everywhere.
LOL, this coming from an assumptive cretin and petulant dilettante of American politics who thinks he/she/it knows something and is ever so coy with repeated media label stamps, but utterly bereft of any substance.
What makes you happy is of absolutely no concern. Actually, you're just of no concern, period. Gripe away.