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39 review for The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jan Peregrine

    Evolution of Atheism by Stephen LeDrew~~~ I had no idea how complicated atheism is until I read Stephen LeDrew's 2016 book The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement. LeDrew points out that it began in the mid 1800s with a concern for social justice and attracted all the moral-minded, minority people who are also godless until, it appears, the New Atheism formed after 9/11. This new atheism was scientific-minded only. This movement, initiated by Richard Dawkins' bestselling book Evolution of Atheism by Stephen LeDrew~~~ I had no idea how complicated atheism is until I read Stephen LeDrew's 2016 book The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement. LeDrew points out that it began in the mid 1800s with a concern for social justice and attracted all the moral-minded, minority people who are also godless until, it appears, the New Atheism formed after 9/11. This new atheism was scientific-minded only. This movement, initiated by Richard Dawkins' bestselling book The God Delusion. I didn't read that book, but I read Christopher Hitchens' bestseller God Is Not Great. He was one of the main New Atheists who are confrontational with religious people and institutions rather than accommodating or multicultural as secular humanists are. I am the latter. But not simply because of Hitch's book, Secular humanists share a love for social justice issues with moderate, liberal, religious people. Their goals are the same even if their fundamental philosophies about life are different. The New Atheists share some goals with the conservative Christian Right, such as attacking Muslims and their way of life, white, male superiority, and a sense of privilege. Neither are interested in social justice, but only converting people to their narrow way of thinking. LeDrew discusses these groups as well as the newer groups branching off of them because they don't agree with those goals. Most disturbing is the scientific libertarians preaching individualism or an Ayn Rand kind of objectivism. They believe in an unregulated free market or, really, the trickle-down theory of recent Republicans. They too feel a sense of privilege and couldn't care less for other people. Then there's a feminist group called Atheism Plus, which means they believe in scientific atheism, but add social justice issues like women's rights and such. I think there needs to be a humanist group that welcomes minorities who don't feel a sense of privilege and who support social justice that includes economic inequality. LeDrew notes that none of the groups criticize capitalism because they're so well-educated and well-off, but there are many people who would embrace a godless group for the less privileged. Like me! I did enjoy the book Good Without God by a secular humanist chaplain, Greg Epstein, and it's good, but secular humanism needs to reach out to more people than students and the elite members of society. LeDrew ends this very compelling, ploddingly helpful book by reminding us that Charles Darwin believed that evolution was never a straight line advancing towards an imaginary ideal of perfection, which was taught by Herbert Spencer. Darwin believed evolution developed like a radiating bush, a process of differentiation like the atheism movement is experiencing now. The New Atheists actually follow Spencer and are fundamentalists like the Christian Right are fundamentalists. Looks to me like we have a lot of New Atheists mucking up our understanding of the way politics should work for the people rather than the wealthy. We need secular humanists for the people. He doesn't know what will happen to the movement, thinks it's unpredictable, and doesn't mention that we'll eventually have robots all over the place and the importance of religion or non-religion will probably evolve into nothingness. What do you think?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    This book accomplished for me what I feel the author set out to do: instigate a round of questioning on the various aspects of the New Atheism by examining not only the various nuances of general modern scientism and atheism, but their growth, proponents and obstacles. I appreciated the emphasis on consideration of socio-historical aspects of humanism in the big picture. Though I did not agree with every conclusion reached, I approached the read with an open mind and tried to catalog the points This book accomplished for me what I feel the author set out to do: instigate a round of questioning on the various aspects of the New Atheism by examining not only the various nuances of general modern scientism and atheism, but their growth, proponents and obstacles. I appreciated the emphasis on consideration of socio-historical aspects of humanism in the big picture. Though I did not agree with every conclusion reached, I approached the read with an open mind and tried to catalog the points along the way before drawing an overall conclusion at the final paragraph. I have made note of various references throughout and will be exploring each in depth over time. I feel the author did a credible job of exploring the subject matter and installing pause in rushes to judgment. I would have liked to have seen more meat on the bone in certain chapters - or even a follow-up volume to flesh these out. But overall, I rate this book five stars for the effect it had on my knowledge and considerations and for the spark it lit to further investigate the subject versus simply take the author's word on it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Melbie

    This book is scary. First of all, LeDrew's mezmerizing citation of sources does not convince me of his sincerity and also fails to hide the fact that he seems to be merely interpreting people's statements to further his assertions about a perceived "movement," as he calls it. Honestly, I tried to follow his train of thought but, I must confess that when I got off at the last station I found myself scratching my head and asking myself, "What the fuck did he just say?" Maybe I will read it again. This book is scary. First of all, LeDrew's mezmerizing citation of sources does not convince me of his sincerity and also fails to hide the fact that he seems to be merely interpreting people's statements to further his assertions about a perceived "movement," as he calls it. Honestly, I tried to follow his train of thought but, I must confess that when I got off at the last station I found myself scratching my head and asking myself, "What the fuck did he just say?" Maybe I will read it again. Nah, maybe not. One thing that I did gain from reading this book; now I understand why it is so difficult for me to try and form an "indentity" that fits where I am at these days. "I don't know!" still seems the best response. Like a friend of mine once said, "Why must you identify?" Indeed, why?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I received this through Net Galley. This was definitely an interesting read. I look forward to getting the book when it comes out. I'm not sure I fully buy all of LeDrew's conclusions, but it certainly has given me something to mull over as I reread many of the big names in atheism. I think it's definitely going to be a book I will reread when it comes out. I received this through Net Galley. This was definitely an interesting read. I look forward to getting the book when it comes out. I'm not sure I fully buy all of LeDrew's conclusions, but it certainly has given me something to mull over as I reread many of the big names in atheism. I think it's definitely going to be a book I will reread when it comes out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    211.8 L475 2016

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jovany Agathe

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kwan Qi Xiang

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather Rono

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ramzey

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    David

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mikko Luostarinen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Taykinhow999

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard

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    Alun

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    Ancient Weaver

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    Daphne

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dan Johnson

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    Donald Forster

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    Steve Walker

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    Sasha

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    Scott

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    Xan Cranney

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mauro Neto

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brent

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia_w

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Warner

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lyra Belacqua

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jen Gould

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephen LeDrew

  31. 4 out of 5

    Alex Stroshine

  32. 5 out of 5

    NVCC Manassas

  33. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  34. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  35. 4 out of 5

    Mohammad

  36. 4 out of 5

    Tony Anuci

  37. 4 out of 5

    Free_thinker_1980

  38. 4 out of 5

    Michael Bering Smith

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jazz

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