As Neil Stevens claims at The Federalist?
There used to be atheist belief systems that were built more constructively than this. Writers like Isaac Asimov defined themselves not as atheists but as humanists. Humanism may not be unique to atheism, but many atheists in the past have studied the role of humanity in the world, and in particular the power of humanity over the world. This is productive and constructive, yet ruled out by the Internet troll culture.
A much more interesting and serious-minded atheism would actually think through important issues of humanity and spend serious time understanding world religions, instead of just pulling factoids out of context and sniggering at the 88 percent of Americans who believe. After all, few countries are majority atheist.
And it’s true, by his own admission, Dawkins has failed to think through the traits of Judaism and Islam, two of the most prominent religions in the world. Here he admits he’s been shown empirical differences in the adherents of different religions, but unlike a scientist, he hasn’t thought about what it might mean. For someone who fills so much of his website with articles about religion, this shows an startling lack of intellectual curiosity. Dawkins may call himself a scientist, but the study of belief and of man clearly is not his field.
Okay but, Neil, is it possible that there is something inherently destructive in materialist atheism?
Face it, Dawkins is the world’s most widely recognized atheist in the same way that JPII and Mother Teresa were the world’s most widely recognized Catholics. It wasn’t just the news media who put Dawkins there (though they certainly helped very much).
Stevens is right, but the problem lies deeper than he thinks. What materialist atheism is doing to science, it is also doing to itself. No big mystery there.