Al Jazeera describes this as an interview but it’s more of a debate — the New Statesman‘s Mehdi Hasan doesn’t give Dawkins an easy ride.
The world’s most prominent militant atheist suffers from the same disease that afflicts all other evangelists: a lack of curiosity about the very people they hope to change.
The mission of the new atheists seems akin to wanting to eradicate smallpox yet having little interest in studying the virus.
“…having little interest in studying the virus”. I find this claim to be utterly bizarre. Why is it that atheists are required to know more than they already do about believer’s beliefs? Those new atheists whose writings I am most familiar with, Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, Jerry Coyne, all know considerably more about the religions they criticize than the overwhelming majority of practitioners of the same. Most atheists reject the concept of a god after a rational process of examining the belief systems that inevitably pervaded the culture we grew up in. In my own case, Sunday school, evangelical run school camps, choir-boy, server, etc. were followed by a growing realization that none of what I had learned and believed in as a child and an adolescent made sense, or was necessary to explain the world to me, nor to explain my place in it. Although I am nowhere near as knowledgeable about the world’s religions as the above mentioned gentlemen, I was able at the time of shootings at the Sikh temple to explain to my evangelical sister-in-law that Sikhs are not muslim. She in turn remained unconvinced until we were able to consult Wikipedia where what I had told her was confirmed. Like most atheists, I’d be happy to live and let live with regard to believers, if only they wouldn’t continue to try to force their beliefs on me in the public arena.
I actually think he needs to start by examining the metaphysical incoherence of his own materialistic ideology.