It is difficult to deny that pop-atheism (or 'new atheism') is an identifiable social movement within Anglophone society. More than just mere disbelief, more than just mere non-belief, pop-atheism was about giving expression to ideas which were becoming particularly common within popular culture about religion and its place in society.
Based on pandering to the biases of people who'll buy the books and fork out for tickets to conventions, it rejected the traditional modes of atheistic thought which explicitly self-identified as a social project. If anything, it rejected all social project outright on the presumption that a rejection of God would (somehow) result in a utopia of equality and inclusion. Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens had attributed a swag of social evils not to particular social facts but to theistic belief.
The result was an internalisation of racism
Responding to criticism of pop-atheism, a group established Atheism+
, which was about recombining atheism with progressive politics.
It immediately attracted derision from the 'mainstream' pop-atheism crowd who refused to acknowledge the latent racism and sexism within the subculture. This, in turn, prompted a response from PZ Myers
'It really isn’t a movement about exclusion, but about recognizing the impact of the real nature of the universe on human affairs.
And if you don’t agree with any of that — and this is the only ‘divisive’ part — then you’re an asshole.'
It is worth noting that one of the people behind the Atheism+, Jen McCreight, decided to quit blogging
after she was torn down by comments from the pop-atheism crowd 'about how [she's] a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few)'.For debate:
Pop-atheism was always going to descend into a racist, sexist heat death because it refused to acknowledge the validity of non-positivist philosophical discourse (which it called 'obscurantism').Sub-debate:
We should rewind the clock on atheism back to pre-2001, when it was an intellectually serious position to hold.