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Well done, nanne, this is a giant stride beyond the uninformed abuse, and the blatant misrepresentation which prompted me to write my diary, generally defending Dawkins. We now actually have specific arguments about what Dawkins has said, quotations and references. It has an air of intellectual respectability - even if I think it's still mostly wrong :-) But an adequate response will take a bit of time.

In the meantime, just let's take your conclusion, suggesting that it's a lot of fuss about nothing:

Areligiosity, lest we forget, is growing. We seem to have internalised the conventional wisdom media narrative on 'resurgent religion'. But there is little evidence for that, as the Edge piece demonstrates. Also see Chris Bowers:

    I also thought of the studies showing that a rapidly increasing number of Americans do not self-identify as Christian, and the studies showing that those Americans are predominately grouped within Generations X and Y (born 1965-1994). According to a 2005 study by Greenberg Research, only 62-63%% of Americans under the age of 40 self-identified as Christian, compared to over 80% of previous American generations. Further, fewer than 50% of the younger generations now self-identify as either Protestant or Roman Catholic.

Cheer up, atheists. You're not in a war. You're certainly not losing.

The answer to your ills is simple: progressivism.

I was very complacent in my atheism; after all, here in most of Europe, relatively few take religion seriously - compared with a few generations ago. But having been awakened from my non-dogmatic slumbers and having done a bit more reading about the issues as a result, I'm appalled at the situation in America - a rather important, influential country (even if less so than it was). It's no surprise that two of the best-selling atheist authors are American (Dennett, Harris), Hitchens lives there (and now has a US passport) while Dawkins lectures a lot in the US and is very aware of the situation there.

60+ % of Americans under 40 is still a LOT of Americans, and a percentage wildly at odds with other developed nations. There is an even greater percentage in the older generation, who often have more power. Also these millions are getting very organized and increasingly influential in US politics - cf Huckabee and Romney and their support.  

I agree with Dawkins - it IS a fight - religion opposed and held up developments in the sciencces and the arts for centuries. Many in the US especially are still trying to do so. Lots of people are suffering the results of misguided policies which they have managed to get adopted. AND it is a fight in which even some UK bishops have joined with Dawkins and others in opposing the development of creationism even in some UK schools.  Perhaps you think these bishops lack understanding of religion and of threats from some forms of it. For the personal suffering, read some of the testimonies on

http://exchristian.net/testimonies/

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 05:40:47 PM EST

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