Is atheism rudderless? Is atheism unseaworthy and incapable of handling the huge waves heading its way?
To answer these questions, let's first examine some prominent atheists in terms of their leadership abilities.
Is PZ Myers a strong leader within atheism?
One of the hallmarks of leaders is that they search for and recognize opportunities and help their communities capitalize on them. In addition, they scan the environment for problems which threaten their communities and help their communities solve them. Let's take a look at PZ Myers's problem recognition and problem solving abilities and see how they stack up.
Important questions to ask as far as PZ Myers' leadership abilities
1. Does PZ Myers recognize significant problems which pose a threat to atheism or does he hide his head in the sand and pretend they don't exist?
2. Is PZ Myers a thoughtful person who monitors how atheism is doing in the world or is he oblivious?
3. Is PZ Myers offering constructive ways to solve one of atheism's biggest problems or is he making the problem worse?
Significant problem facing atheism: global shrinking of atheism in terms of adherents and market share
Currently, atheism is shrinking in terms of global market share and in terms of adherents. Furthermore, the decline of the number of atheists in the world is expected to accelerate and negatively affect Western atheism.
In 2012, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) reported that every day there are 800 less atheists per day, 1,100 less non-religious (agnostic) people per day and 83,000 more people professing to be Christians per day (see: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - status of Global Mission report).
Furthermore, in 2009, the book A sceptics guide to atheism indicated: "A worldwide poll taken in 1991 put the global figure for atheists at just 4.4% of the population. By 2006 it was estimated that only 2% of the world population were atheists."
The Birbeck, University of London professor Eric Kaufmann declared to a secular Australian audience in a lecture titled Shall the religious inherit the earth: "The trends that are happening worldwide inevitably in an age of globalization are going to affect us."
Eric Kaufmann using a multitude of demographic studies argues in an academic paper entitled Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century that the decline of atheism in terms of its global adherents is an established trend that will persist for the foreseeable future and the rate of decline will accelerate. In the Western World, due to immigration and the higher birth rates of religious people, Kaufman writes: "Committed religious populations are growing in the West, and will reverse the march of secularism before 2050."
Eric Kaufmann wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? concerning America:
In addition, the the web traffic of leading atheist websites have declined in recent years
PZ Myers "solution" to global atheism shrinking and its threat to Western atheism
So what is PZ Myers's "solution" to global atheism shrinking and it's significant threat to the future of atheism?
PZ Myers engages in the logical fallacy of the fallacy of exclusion by cherry picking a handful of countries in which atheism and/or agnosticism has grown and then declaring: "overall trend is good: atheism is winning out around the world." Apparently, when PZ Myers puts his "atheism blinders" on, his myopia goes into overdrive and the world outside his cherry picked countries don't exist.
Furthermore, Myers chooses to ignore an inconvenient fact from his own source.
PZ Myers writes: "It appears that Ameroatheists have expanded by 10 million since the turn of the century — representing about a million a year, and about a third of overall population growth, to a total of 60 million out of more than 300 million."
First of all, the major encyclopedias of philosophy define atheism as the denial of the existence of God. Myers mixes atheists and agnostics together due to his philosophical ignorance and/or to try to boost the numbers of atheists. See also: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philisophy - Atheism and agnosticism and Atheism - Etymology
Second, Myers fails to point out that from the most recent period apparently examined by International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) was from 1998 to 2008. During that 10 year period, the ISSP indicated the percentage of atheists/agnostics decreased in America and the number of theists increased during that period. Specifically, in 1998 the percentage of Americans who didn't believe in God was 3.2% and in 2008 it was 2.8% which is a decease in the percentage of atheists/agnostics. Also, the ISSP indicated that 77.5% of Americans were theists overall in 1998 and in 2008 it was 78.2 percent which is an increase in the percentage of theists.
Third, there is some value to the data the International Social Survey Programme provides as it attempts to foster co-operation between countries in terms of survey data and how survey questions are structured. At the same time, as far as America, it is foolish to ignore the high quality data that the Gallup organization, the Pew Forum and the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) provide.
In 2011, the Gallup organization wrote "More than 9 in 10 Americans still say "yes" when asked the basic question "Do you believe in God?". In 2008, the American Religious Indentification Survey (ARIS) reported .7% of Americans self-identified themselves as atheists and .9% of Americans self-identified as agnostics (which is a small increase in the percentage). In 2007, Pew Forum estimated that 1.6% of Americans are atheists and 2.4% of Americans are agnostics.
Fourth, Myers' article was published on June 19, 2012. His article declares: "Demographic extrapolations that suggest fast-reproducing fundamentalists are on a statistical course to outgrow low-fertility secularists are proving flawed because they fail to account for mass nonchalant conversion due to modernity." Nowhere does Myers mention that on June 1, 2012 the Gallup organization reported the largest increase in young increase in young earth creationism in the entire time they have been tracking it. That must have slipped his absentminded professors mind! Specifically, around June of 2011 40% of Americans were estimated to be young earth creationist according to Gallup. By May of 2012, it was estimated to be 46% by Gallup.
Myers' analysis of the current situation facing the atheist community in terms of its global decline and the future implications of this decline exhibits poor scholarship, denialism and poor leadership.
PZ Myers' threat detection skills: Excellent, mediocre or very poor? A further examination
Is PZ Myers an insightful person who can discern competitive threats in the environment for the ideology of atheism or is his threat detection skills poor or non-existent?
Michael Blume, a researcher at the University of Jena in Germany, wrote "Most societies or communities that have espoused atheistic beliefs have not survived more than a century." Blume also indicated concerning concerning his research on this matter: "What I found was the complete lack of a single case of a secular population, community or movement that would just manage to retain replacement level."
So how does PZ Myers address this issue? He rabidly promotes pro-abortion ideology thus compounding the problem of religious people having significantly more children than atheists (and the related issue of atheist couples failing to achieve replacement levels).
Furthermore, Myers made the claim that atheism thrives on economic prosperity and religion prospers when people are desperate and ignorant. I address this claim of Myers in the article Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant.
What is humorous about this claim is that the leftist Myers engages in misguided partisan politics by claiming that Republicans may drive Americans into poverty though anti-socialism policies which could cause Americans to reject atheism.
Why is this comment ironic? It is ironic for two principle reasons. First, in the article in which he predicts a rosy picture for the future of global atheism, nowhere does he talk about the financial crises in secular Europe caused by massive sovereign debt in several countries. Second, he fails to discuss the 15 trillion dollar federal debt of the United States and a host of other significant economic problems the United States faces such as running trade deficits. As an aside, please see: Bible versus on debt/finances
Nigel Barber, another atheist thought "leader" predicted that atheism would defeat religion by 2038 due to economic prosperity (Again, I address this weak claim in my article Does atheism thrive on economic prosperity? Does religion prosper when people are desperate and ignorant )
PZ Myers and Mr. Barber must read the same oddball newspapers because they are not reading about the massive debt problems and the lack of economic competitiveness happening within many secular European countries.
Will Richard Dawkins' upcoming book reverse decline of global atheism?
The egotistical Richard Dawkins is presently in the midst of writing a self-serving quasi autobiography while global atheism and global agnosticism continue to decline and face major threats on the horizon.
In June of 2012, the Christian Post reported
Famed atheist and scientist Richard Dawkins has set out to write a new book that will focus on his own evolution toward the path of atheism.The publisher's notice of the upcoming book using the term "atheist" can be found on several other prominent internet properties besides the Christian Post such as Publishers Weekly, The Blaze, Christianity Today and Galleycat (Galleycat is on the Media Bistro domain).
"Dawkins will tell the story of his own intellectual evolution, explaining how his groundbreaking work as a scientist led to his work as an atheist," states Dawkins' new publisher HarperCollins' Ecco. The book has not yet been given a title, but is expected to be on bookshelves by 2014.
First, Richard Dawkins has gone from being a militant atheist to being an agnostic.
Vox Day wrote about Dawkins' inconsistency when it comes to the issues of atheism and agnosticism.
Vox Day declared: "While the fact that Dawkins declared himself a literal agnostic in the very book in which he declared the importance of atheist evangelism is both ironic and incoherent, it will surprise no one who has read the chapter of The Irrational Atheist entitled "Darwin's Judas".
Christians should call Dawkins on his disingenuous flip-flopping if his publisher continues to promote the book as a book focusing on his journey to atheism without mentioning the fact that Dawkins is presently an agnostic who has rejected atheism.
An author calling himself an atheist or a publisher giving the impression that someone is an atheist may sell more books as it is more provocative, but it isn't intellectually honest if the author has rejected atheism and is an agnostic. If Dawkins claims to be an agnostic who is unsure if God exist or not, then he should clearly communicate this to the public and so should his publisher. Dawkins has been unreasonable as far as his alleged agnosticism and I recommend reading the article Why does Richard Dawkins have such a high belief in the possibility of fairies being at the bottom of the garden?
Given the weakness of his argumentation and the vitriol which often accompanies it, I agree with Dr. Don Batten that the weight of the evidence points to Dawkins being a God-hater.
Second, what groundbreaking work as a scientists has Richard Dawkins done? He hasn't won any Nobel Prizes and even a fellow evolutionists, Professor Richard Lewontin, pointed out that Dawkins engages in pseudoscience.
In a March 10, 2008 USA Today article Stephen Prothero wrote that the New Atheism promoted by the Richard Dawkins and his fellow New Atheists had no discernible effect on the percentage of atheists in America.
Bottom line: An inconsistent flip-flopper whose works do not grow atheism in a significant way is not going to reverse the decline of global atheism.
Furthermore, there is the issue Richard Dawkins' abrasive personality. This has caused divisions within atheism and also turns off many people in the general public. Anything Dawkins attempts to advance agnosticism or atheism is not going to be a game changer. Also, given that a large segment of the world population loathes atheism, Richard Dawkins tying evolutionism to atheism is going to be counterproductive.
For more information on Richard Dawkins' inconsistent behavior please see the article: Is Richard Dawkins a flip-flopper?
Also, see: Richard Dawkins: Insightful secular strategist or an insincere book peddler?
Silent and unthinking prominent atheists "leading" atheism to a shipwreck?
“A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?" - Jesus
Why are atheist thought "leaders" so thoughtless when it comes to the future of atheism? Are they: looking at distant historical trends, myopically looking at certain countries/cultures. Are they ignoring some recent significant trends and events? Are many prominent atheists/agnostics such as Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Sam Harris and others incompetent when it comes to the disciplines of history and demographics? See also: Evolutionists, atheists and agnostics: Where is your master plan to reverse your decline?
2. Given that many militant atheists and Darwinists have a great deal of antipathy towards God and Christianity, are they allowing their emotions to overrule the current evidence relating to the future of atheism ?
3. Is the reason why prominent atheists are ignoring the global decline of atheism and its expected effect on the West is because they are too indifferent and lazy to do anything about it?
Do you see Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers, Sam Harris, Dan Barker, Penn Jillette, Ed Brayton and other prominent atheists and agnostics going into Africa, India and other poor areas of the world relative to the West and making large personal sacrifices to spread atheism? Do you see many atheists doing this to spread atheism? I certainly don't. See: Tightfisted atheist
4. Why are so few prominent atheists, if any, directly citing Professor Eric Kaufmann's work relating to the decline of atheism even though a substantial amount of his work is online and lengthy videos are available? Why is linking to his material so difficult? Could it be a case of denialism or intellectual dishonesty?
See: Professor Eric Kaufmann's papers, articles and videos
5. How many atheist/agnostic book authors and public speakers are going to hurt their book sales and speaker fees by talking about the global decline of atheism/agnosticism and its future implications on the Western World?
The unseaworthiness of atheism gets much, much worse
Now if all this incompetence wasn't bad enough, atheism has a history of petty bickering and the squabbling is now in full force. At the present time, atheists are engaged in numerous battles amongst themselves (Elevatorgate, PZ Myers and Freethoughtblogs vs. Thunderf00t, Paul Kurtz vs. the New Atheists, etc. etc.).
If you add this the fact that atheism has no proof and evidence that is true and that Christianity has an abundant amount of evidence supporting its claims, you can see that atheism is a very leaky and unstable ship.
See also: Evidence for Christianity and Did Jesus rise from the dead? by Michael Horner
Furthermore, the waves pounding the atheism ship are going to get bigger and bigger.
Global decline of atheism expected to accelerate
Down with evolutionism! Down with atheism! Creationism is up!
Overrunning Darwinism through internet evangelism, radical pricing (free) and wide distribution
A plan for accelerating the global decline of atheism
(This article is a repost of an 2012 article that I posted at: Atheism is rudderless and unseaworthy )