At Slate, Michael Robbins writes a review of Nick Spencer's Atheists: The Origin of the Species
that is both snotty and mocking of atheists. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2014/07/atheists_the_origin_of_the_species_by_nick_spencer_reviewed.single.html
It is mainly a petulant tirade of name calling and, frankly, lies, about what atheists think about religion. It is a parade of strawmen.
He says, we - specifically Dawkins - get religion all wrong. We think it is an attempt at science, which he thinks is laughably moronic, when it is really something else altogether. Only an idiot would think the bible is an attempt to explain how the universe works. Yet he never acknowledges, let alone explains, the pluraily of people in the US who do indeed think exactly that.
He makes a common mistake that so many theists do, which is he thinks he found a big, gaping hole in science, all on his own, which far smarter people stupidly overlooked:
So when, for instance, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne and pop-cosmologist Lawrence Krauss dismiss the (metaphysical) problem of how something could emerge from nothing by pointing to the Big Bang or quantum fluctuation, it is difficult to be kind: Quantum fluctuations, the uncertainty principle, the laws of quantum physics themselves—these are something. Nothing is not quantum anything. It is nothing. Nonbeing. This, not empty space, is what “nothing” signifies for Plato and Aquinas and Heidegger, no matter what Krauss believes. No particles, no fluctuation, no laws, no principles, no potentialities, no states, no space, no time. No thing at all.
No shit, Mikey? Gosh, you must be smart as hell. Those scientists must be total dipshits compared to you for not taking that into consideration. Oh, wait. They did
take that into consideration. Nevermind.
He says we are ignorant of religion, despite survey after survey showing we know more about it than the religious.
Several critics have noted that if evangelical atheists (as the philosopher John Gray calls them) are ignorant of religion, as they usually are, then they aren’t truly atheists.
He also delves into morality and thinks we are shallow and have not thought anything through. He says that secular humanism borrows xian language without any of the underlying metaphysical authority, and so we are stupid.
The point is not that a coherent morality requires theism, but that the moral language taken for granted by liberal modernity is a fragmented ruin: It rejects metaphysics but exists only because of prior metaphysical commitments. A coherent atheism would understand this, because it would be aware of its own history. Instead, trendy atheism of the Dawkins variety has learned as little from its forebears as from Thomas Aquinas, preferring to advance a bland version of secular humanism. Spencer quotes John Gray, a not-New atheist: “Humanism is not an alternative to religious belief, but rather a degenerate and unwitting version of it.” How refreshing would be a popular atheism that did not shy from this insight and its consequences.