Via Andrew Sullivan, here's a gloriously deaf and absurd contribution to the debate about belief from a book titled Excerpt of God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens, and written by John F. Haught.
Haught argues that:
In preparing treatises on a-theism, one would expect that scholars and journalists would have done some research on theism, just to be sure they know exactly what it is they are rejecting. It is hard to be an informed and consistent atheist without knowing something about theology. And yet, aside from several barbed references, there is no sign of any real contact between the new atheists and theology at all, let alone studious investigation. This circumvention is comparable to creationists rejecting evolution without ever having taken a course in biology.This approach is not new, and was memorably lampooned in a piece that purported to be a review of a (non-existent) Dawkins book The Fascism Delusion:
[Dawkins’s] sense of ‘Fascism’ is lamentably error-strewn. Dawkins has only a superficial knowledge of MeinBut if Haught's approach is fundamentally unoriginal and absurd, he does make one innovation, and it is one to treasure. He identifies atheists with creationists, believers with scientists, and theology with biology. This is one of the road-crashes between reality and metaphor that plague religious apology, and have done since at least the eighteenth century.
KamfKampf, or the poetry of Marinetti; and he seems entirely ignorant of the much more subtle and intellectually stimulating work of Fascist philosophers such as Hermann Graf Keyserling, Alfred Baeumler, Martin Heidegger, Giovanni Gentile, Rafael Sánchez Mazas, Alain de Benoist and many others. Only somebody who has mastered the complete works of all these thinkers could even conceivably be in a position to advance an anti-Fascist argument. The lack of that necessary body of knowledge fatally undermines Dawkins’s right to attack Fascism in the first place.
It's a road crash because it mixes the two things together, equivalent to saying "People who think apples are unlike oranges should imagine for a moment that this apple is an orange and this orange is an apple". Dawkins is a biologist. Haught is a creationist, even if he is a more sophisticated* one than some of the Intelligent Design people.
There is something charming about the tone of weary patience adopted by people who advance these ridiculous arguments. But fundamentally they miss the point. Theism is not the default position, atheism is. The onus is not on a disbeliever to prove their case, it is on a believer. If it weren't for the malevolent contemporary influence of religion on the world, people would feel less moved to write these books.
*The word 'Sophist' might serve equally well.