Caspar Melville is often “bored” by new atheism and finds that the attacks of new atheists are overbroad (e.g., the suggestion bringing up a child in any religion is tantamount to child abuse), but in the U.K. Guardian he admits that new atheism does have its uses:
Hundreds of column inches have been generated by New Atheism and responses to it – not least in my magazine – and, if at times the debate has all the subtlety of It’s A Knockout, it has also been educative, instructive and popular, in the important sense that it has been conducted in a language that most people can understand. It’s sold a lot of books, too.
New Atheism is also good at answering back to particular kinds of arguments. The origins of the New Atheists’ impulse, according to philosopher Richard Norman, lie in 9/11 and the reappearance of a particularly aggressive strain of Christian religious fundamentalism. If, as Norman also argues, New Atheism can be over-generalising and crude in its response to religion, this is because it is a response to crude and nonspecific articulations of religiosity – what could be less specific than bombing a skyscraper, or cruder than Biblical creationism? In the light of this, irascible, rhetorically florid, sweeping, intellectually arrogant New Atheism certainly has its place – some arguments are just asking for it.