Who is an atheist 4
The Infiltration Strategy of New Atheism
This is a case report. It shows how New Atheism (GBS, Brights) infiltrates ideologically pluralistic or neutral clubs and associations with a secular-laicist attitude (GWUP, HVD) and thereby builds up totalitarian structures. I have only realized this clearly in the last few weeks, although I should have been forewarned by the 2007 Spiegel article The Crusade of the Wicked. But only now, on the occasion of my research, have I rediscovered the tear in my copy of Richard Dawkins' work "The God Delusion".
A official information leaflet of the Society for the Scientific Investigation of Parasciences (GWUP) has the title “Parascience - Pseudoscience” (Martin Mahner, 5.1.2010). It is in contradiction to the current GWUP statutes.
The aim is to expand the GWUP's field of work. The decisive boundary for the GWUP should then no longer run between science and non-science, but between knowledge and illusion (Martin Mahner in “What are parasciences?”, Skeptiker 4/2009, pp. 186-190). Metaphysics and religions should also fall within the target area of the GWUP.
At the 2014 general assembly in Munich (traditionally on the Friday after Ascension Day), I submitted a motion in which the board of directors is requested to eliminate the contradictions between official pronouncements and the statutes and, in particular, to withdraw the redefinition of "Para science - pseudoscience".
There was a desire for a thorough discussion in the meeting. The decision was postponed to the following year, i.e. Ascension Day 2015.
This year, on the Friday after Ascension Day, the general meeting had a proposal by the board of directors to amend the statutes. This aims one Expansion and relaxation of the association's purpose in such a way that the GWUP information document and the expansion of the GWUP field of work are now in conformity with the statutes. In the justification for this request, the information sheet I criticized played no role; instead, a few, basically unfounded, arguments were put forward. So it was no longer a question of following the articles of association, but of changing the articles of association so that the information sheet was then in conformity with the articles of association.
The possibility of targeting religions in addition to esotericism is thus expressly opened up. Apparently the intention is to convert the GWUP into an institution for atheistic proselytizing.
Doubts about this objective vanish when you look at the staff, those in prominent positions. An excerpt from the cast list follows.
Martin Mahner, Author of the GWUP information brochures, is in-house philosopher of GWUP and at the same time advisory board of the Giordano Bruno Foundation (GBS). Amardeo Sarma, Chairman of the GWUP, identifies himself as a member of the GBS. Many supporters of the GBS are also supporters or members of the Brights.
A key figure in the one-year “discussion process” from Ascension Day 2014 to Ascension Day 2015 to be described is Rainer Wolf. He is both a member of the board and at the same time a representative of the GWUP Science Council and a member of the Brights. Rainer Rosenzweig, formerly doctoral student of Rainer Wolf, is a member of the GWUP Science Council and the GBS Advisory Board.
The GBS as well as the Brights evangelize aggressively for the New Atheism in the following of Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion", 2006). The goals and methods of these associations are incompatible with the principles of ideological pluralism. In the Oops! Article "The Giordano Bruno Foundation (GBS): just confused or even dangerous?" I made a few comments about it.
The booklet "Manifesto of Evolutionary Humanism" by Michael Schmidt-Salomon from 2005 forms the "philosophical" basis of the GBS. The intention behind it quickly becomes clear: every liberal spirit should be able to find itself in it somewhere. He is just not allowed to think about it. The text, like the ontological naturalism on which it is based, has a hair-raising superficiality. In addition, it is bursting with internal contradictions. Here are just two more examples.
First: The falsificationism of Karl Raimund Popper mentioned on page 37 is closely related to his “social technique of individual problems” (from: “The open society and its enemies”). The lavish 10th commandment of evolutionary humanism on p. 158 stands in irreconcilable contrast to: “Put your life in the service of a 'greater cause'”. This sentence speaks of totalitarianism, that is, the goal of “implementing a comprehensive new value system” (Brockhaus). Nothing was further from Popper.
Second: on p. 94 the naturalistic fallacy addressed, according to which one can derive the ought, that is, the moral laws, from being, the laws of nature. Although the failure of this program is admitted, Schmidt-Salomon tries a few pages later (p. 120 ff.) To do just that: the establishment of a humanistic ethic based on reason and understanding of nature. The preferential utilitarianism of the Peter Singer is offered as a necessity for thought.
Recently even Schmidt-Salomon felt uncanny about the choice of Peter Singer as the leading figure.
For Joachim Kahl from the HVD, the ten offers of evolutionary humanism are one Door opener of arbitrariness (Fürth dispute of June 27, 2006). Gradually word gets around how poor the range of evolutionary humanism of the GBS is.
Organizations that are pluralistic in ideology and more towards this world, such as the Humanist Association of Germany (HVD) and the Society for the Scientific Investigation of Parasciences (GWUP), which do well without such metaphysics, belong to the mission area of the New Atheists. Even if the HVD has a secular-laicist society as its goal and wants to push back the political influence of the churches, that does not mean that another religion, one in the form of New Atheism, has to be stuffed into the alleged loophole.
The increasing influence of the New Atheists on the HVD becomes apparent when one compares the 2011 “Humanist Self-Understanding” of the HVD with the “Humanist Principles” of the HVD Bavaria published the following year: The first-mentioned paper is largely free of the ideological ideas of the New Atheists . In the second, their influence is revealed through typical naturalist speech: “There is right things going on everywhere”, “Humanists are naturalists” and the like.
The new atheists achieve a large part of the influence through personal union. In the case of the GWUP, Messrs. Sarma, Mahner, Rosenzweig and Wolf do this. Then there are the philosophers Gerhard Vollmer and Bernulf Kanitscheider, who are both members of the GWUP Science Council and the GBS Advisory Council. These are only the people whose affiliations I know beyond a doubt.
The GWUP internal "discussion" on the amendment of the statutes shows how the New Atheists expand their sphere of influence. This has nothing to do with open, science-oriented discussions. It runs according to the motto: We are the enlightened, the brights, we are right, and therefore the end justifies the means.
In order to counter inappropriate allegations: At the monthly meetings of the GWUP members in Würzburg I have repeatedly emphasized: My subject of investigation is not homeopathy, nor astrology or dowsing; For some time now, I have been interested in the GWUP, its internal structures and its culture of discussion.
For one year, from Ascension Day 2014 to Ascension Day 2015, a remarkable “discussion” took place on the topic of amendments to the statutes. It is essential through that totalitarian attitude of the GBS people within the GWUP.
In this discussion process I accepted some humiliations because I had one goal in mind, namely to get closer to the structures of the GWUP. I am highlighting a few characteristics of the process. A key figure is Rainer Wolf.
1. Uncompromising. It is a characteristic of all religious fighters and does not come as a surprise here. The hard and indubitable core of belief is sweetened by pleasant trappings. You shouldn't be fooled by the verbal ribbons: “I can understand your critical considerations very well, and I think they hit very important points. I see three points where I think a little differently ... "Or like this:" Even if I do not agree with all of Michael Schmidt-Salomon's formulations, he is still one of the few philosophers ... "Or like this:" We conclude the definition of a worldview off “and at the same time everything is done to enable exactly such a determination. A discourse does not even come about due to the distraction caused by straw man and proxy arguments.
2. Lack of transparency. At no point was it clear to me who I was dealing with (Science Council? Board of Directors?) And how the consensus could have come about among them.
3. Total control. From a note dated August 1, 2014, I gather that the control of opinion-forming was given to a “small commission” consisting of Rainer Rosenzweig, Martin Mahner and Rainer Wolf. This is how the totalitarian regime works: there is a commission of the initiated, in this case all neo-atheists; across from them sits the delinquent, in this case me. Why I am allergic to something like that can be read in my farewell lecture in connection with the “denazification of an eight-year-old”.
4. Paternalism. Some of my emails were simply withheld by Rainer Wolf. When I asked, he let me know that it would smash porcelain. Other e-mails were provided with comments by Rainer Wolf and only then forwarded to the internal circle. A letter to the editor about a warning article in the skeptiker has probably not even reached the editors. Instead of an acknowledgment of receipt, I only get Wolf's comment: "With the best of intentions, I cannot agree to the content of your letter to the editor" (Wolf, December 21, 2014). And that's it then.
5. Squire style. My wish, expressed several times, to distribute my counter-motion as well as the board motion to all members in advance, only by email for cost reasons, was rejected with the words: "After a detailed discussion more than a week ago, the board decided not to write your letter to be sent to all members by regular mail ”(Sarma, April 14, 2015). My attempts to reach membership directly were thwarted by the fact that I was shown dead tracks, such as an alleged mailing list of members (Sarma, April 9, 2015). I first had to learn, with great effort, that this is a fluctuating forum in which only a few members take part.
6. Arguments of authority. You have to get rid of foreign ideas quickly. How it works? One relies on the argument of authority and intimidation: "I have now received feedback that all science councils have unanimously voted in favor of the new statutes" (Rainer Wolf on May 12, 2015).
A participant at the 2015 general meeting criticized the rigid behavior of the board of directors and recommended that you orientate yourself better to the well-known saying: "I disagree with you, but I would give my life to allow you to express your opinion freely."
In view of the massive advocacy of the board of directors for the amendment of the statutes, it was clear to me that my resistance had been without a chance for months. But I wanted to see how things work out. To the bitter end. After all, there were a few members who, despite its massive presence, did not follow the board. Brave.
After the board's proposal was accepted by a majority of the meeting, I put a statement on the record. In it I repeated my opinion, expressed a year ago, that such a resolution, which would result in a significant change in the purpose of the association, would have to be approved by all association members, whether present or not. Under these conditions, the board motion must be considered a failure. This opinion should be submitted to the district judge in Darmstadt, who has to rule on the amendment to the statutes.
The board member then gave up Ralf Neugebauer, Judge at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, to understand: Everything had been clarified with the district judge in advance.
One could suspect something monstrous behind this, too. As a precaution, I sent my declaration directly to the local court after the general meeting. Let's see what happens.
To sum up my experience: Anyone who messes with the Brights or the representatives of the Giordano Bruno Foundation will notice Enemies of open society to do.
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