Advertisement

Collateral Damage

  • Philip Andrew QuadrioEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Sophia Studies in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures book series (SCPT, volume 21)

Abstract

After unpacking the notion of collateral damage and contrasting it with the notion of double effect this paper moves to a discussion of the normative boundaries that ought to contain the contributions of public intellectuals to public discourse. With this apparatus in place the paper makes a case that due to its polemical nature and a surprisingly blasé attitude to facts and accuracy much New Atheist discourse not only fails to inform the public it addresses but distorts and clouds that discourse. As such they risk misinforming their readers or leading them to hold views based on distorted or inaccurate claims. The paper suggests that this is not simply an unfortunate and unintended side-effect of New Atheists pursuing their polemical cultural-political agenda but best described as collateral damage produced due to a disregard for proper intellectual standards in the prosecution of their polemics.

Keywords

Ethics Collateral damage Double effect Public discourse Public intellectuals Politics 

References

  1. Arum, Richard, and Josipa Roksa. 2011. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Azlan, Reza. 2010. What the New Atheists Get Wrong About Islam. New York Magazine, October 12.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2014. Sam Harris and ‘New Atheists’, Aren’t New and Aren’t Atheists. Salon. November 21.Google Scholar
  4. Boehmer, Elleke, and Stephen Morton, eds. 2009. Terror and the Postcolonial: A Concise Companion. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Bush, George W. 2001. President Bush Addresses the Nation. Available from Washington Post, September 20. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/bushaddress_092001.html. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  6. Carruthers, Peter. 2011. Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2011/entries/consciousness-higher/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  7. Cavanaugh, William T. 2009. The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, Stanley. 2011. Folk Devils and Moral Panics. Routledge Classics: Abingdon-on-Thames.Google Scholar
  9. Cottingham, John. 2011. Why Believe? London: Bloomsbury Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Critchley, Simon. 2007. Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  11. Davies, Paul. 2007. Talking Science on Faith. The New York Times, November 24.Google Scholar
  12. Dawkins, Richard. 1995. River Out of Eden. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 2006. The God Delusion. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  14. de Waal, Frans. 2013. Has Militant Atheism Become a Religion? Salon. March 24. http://www.salon.com/2013/03/25/militant_atheism_has_become_a_religion/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  15. Dennett, Daniel C. 1993. Consciousness Explained. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2007. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  17. Diab, Khaled. 2015. When It Comes to Islam the New Atheists Sound a Lot Like Christian Fundamentalists. Haaretz, May 14. http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.656413. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  18. Eller, Jack David. 2010. What Is Atheism? In Atheism and Secularity, Vol. 1: Issues, Concepts, Definitions, ed. Phil Zuckerman, 1–18. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  19. Gerbner, George, and Larry Gross. 1976. Living with Television: The Violence Profile. Journal of Communication 26 (2): 172–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Giberson, Karl, and Mariano Artigas. 2009. Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists Versus God and Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Gray, John. 2005. Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern. New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  22. Greene, Richard Allen. 2006. Bush’s Language Angers US Muslims. BBC News Online, August 12. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4785065.stm. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  23. Habermas, Jürgen. 1974. The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article. Trans. Sara Lennox and Frank Lennox. New German Critique 3: 49–55.Google Scholar
  24. Harris, Sam. 2004. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. London: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2014. Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 2015a. On the Limits of Discourse: As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky. https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-limits-of-discourse. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  27. ———. 2015b. On the Maintenance of Civilization. https://soundcloud.com/samharrisorg/on-the-maintenance-of-civilization#c=2630&. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  28. Hitchens, Christopher. 2007. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  29. Leber, Rebecca. 2015. Ben Carson on Climate Change: ‘Gravity, Where Did it Come From?’ New Republic, October 2. https://newrepublic.com/article/122989/ben-carson-climate-change-gravity-where-did-it-come. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  30. LeDrew, Stephen. 2015. The Evolution of Atheism: The Politics of a Modern Movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Lennox, John C. 2010. God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? Oxford: Lion.Google Scholar
  32. Marx, Karl. 1992 [1844]. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. In Early Writings. Trans. R. Livingstone and G. Benton, 243–257. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  33. McGrath, Alister. 2010. The Ideological Uses of Evolutionary Biology in Recent Atheist Apologetics. In Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins, ed. Denis R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers, 329–352. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McIntyre, Alison. 2011. Doctrine of Double Effect. In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/double-effect/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  35. Mooney, Chris. 2005. The Republican War on Science (Revised and Updated). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  36. Nolt, John Eric, Dennis A. Rohatyn, and Achille Varzi. 1998. Schaum’s Outline of Logic. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar
  37. Norton, Ben. 2015. Sam Harris Can’t Be Redeemed: Ben Carson, Noam Chomsky and the Defining Hypocrisy of the New Atheist movement. Salon, December 9. http://www.salon.com/2015/12/09/siding_with_christian_fanatics_like_ben_carson_over_noam_chomsky_sam_harris_exposes_inherent_conservatism_of_new_atheism/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  38. Ogden, Cynthia L., Margaret D. Carroll, Brian K. Kit, and Katherine M. Flegal. 2014. Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011–2012. Journal of the American Medical Association 331 (8): 806–814.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pigliucci, Massimo. 2015. Reflections on the Skeptic and Atheist Movements. Scientia Salon. https://scientiasalon.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/reflections-on-the-skeptic-and-atheist-movements/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  40. Posner, Richard A. 2001. Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline. rev ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Psychogiopoulou, Evangelia. 2014. Media Freedom and Independence in Contemporary Democratic Societies. In Media Policies Revisited: The Challenge for Media Freedom and Independence, ed. Evangelia Psychogiopoulou, 22–38. New York: Palgrave McMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pye, Michael. 1994. Religion Shape and Shadow. Numen 41 (1): 51–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Quadrio, Philip. 2009. Parochialism in a Pluralistic Context: A Time for Critical Self-Reflection on Philosophy of Religion. In Politics and Religion in the New Century: Philosophical Perspectives, ed. Philip Andrew Quadrio and Carrol Besseling, 382–416. Sydney: University of Sydney Press.Google Scholar
  44. Robbins, Jeffrey W., and Christopher D. Rodkey. 2010. Beating ‘God’ to Death: Radical Theology and the New Atheism. In Religion and the New Atheism A Critical Appraisal, ed. Amarnath Amarasingam, 25–36. Leiden: Brill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ross, E. Wayne. 1996. The Role of the Scholar: From activism to expertism and back. Theory and Research in Social Education 24 (4): 20–23.Google Scholar
  46. Ruane, Frances. 2012. Public Intellectuals in Times of Crisis: The Role of Academia. In Reflections on Crisis: The Role of the Public Intellectual, ed. Mary P. Corcoran and Kevin Lalor, 41–51. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.Google Scholar
  47. Schmidlin, Kyle. 2015. Scoring the Noam Chomsky/Sam Harris debate: How the professor knocked out the atheist. Salon, May 7. http://www.salon.com/2015/05/07/scoring_the_noam_chomskysam_harris_debate_how_the_professor_knocked_out_the_atheist/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  48. Slezak, Peter. 2009. Gods of the State: Atheism, Enlightenment and Barbarity. In Politics and Religion in the New Century: Philosophical Perspectives, ed. Philip Andrew Quadrio and Carrol Besseling, 42–72. Sydney: Sydney University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Tankersley, Jim. 2015. This Might Be the Most Controversial Theory for What’s Behind the Rise of ISIS. The Washington Post, November 30. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/30/why-inequality-is-to-blame-for-the-rise-of-the-islamic-state/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  50. Taylor, Charles. 1992. The Ethics of Authenticity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Trompf, Garry W. 2005. In Search of Origins: The beginnings of religion in Western theory and Archeological Practice. 2nd ed. Elgin: New Dawn Press.Google Scholar
  52. USAF. 1998. USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide, USAF Pamphlet 14–210. http://fas.org/irp/doddir/usaf/afpam14-210/part20.htm#page180. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  53. Vold, George Bryan, Thomas J. Bernard, and Jeffrey B. Snipes. 2002. Theoretical Criminology. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Walton, Doug. 2008. Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Werleman, C.J. 2015. The New Atheist Threat: The Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremism. London: Dangerous Little Books.Google Scholar
  56. Weston, Drew. 1999. The Scientific Status of Unconscious Processes: Is Freud Really Dead? Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 47 (4): 1061–1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wolters, Eugene. 2015. Sam Harris Awkwardly Debates with Noam Chomsky. Available from Critical Theory, May 2. http://www.critical-theory.com/sam-harris-awkwardly-debates-with-noam-chomsky/. Accessed 29 Mar 2016.
  58. Zuckerman, Phil, ed. 2010. Atheism and Secularity, Vol. 1: Issues, Concepts and Definitions. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney School of LawUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations