The God Delusion is one of the most interesting books I’ve read on the subject of skepticism. Its author, Richard Dawkins, has made many presentations I’ve enjoyed and I’ve just ordered his DVD, The Unbelievers. So yes, I’m a fan of Dawkins, but I do have some problems with his approach. The majority of the time, you are only going to enjoy reading Dawkins if you already agree with him.
Dawkins has been criticized heavily for his approach. He insults people he doesn’t agree with and he has a very intellectual elitist attitude. As an atheist his words are like music to my ears, but at the same time I say to myself, “These words will have no positive impact on the majority of religious people. These words are really just going to piss them off.”
But, we do need a variety of thinkers to encourage skeptical thinking. If a cause is going to succeed, it will need vehement voices. Dawkins gets many good points across, and isn’t afraid to say important things that would otherwise not be said. He isn’t a radical in the sense that he advocates a secular army exterminating all the religious people in the world, he’s just rude.
Dawkins turns a lot of people away from atheism, but at the same time the people who do turn because of him are strong voices. An argument for quality over quantity could be made here. Looking at the big picture, it’s hard to say if Dawkins is helping or hurting the cause for naturalist thinking, but he is trying. What do you think of Dawkins’ approach?