What I was wholly unprepared for, however, was the way in which the Atheist team consistently abandons the effort to present logical arguments at all and simply reverts to name calling. As I said, when faced with worthy opponents, such as Dr. Craig or Dinesh D’Souza, many of the atheist debaters give up any effort to mount rational arguments and just start making snide remarks.
These remarks sometimes get a laugh – even I chuckle at some of them – but what they don’t do is make any sort of rational case. It’s gotten so bad that the enfant terrible of the New Atheists, the popular science writer and Oxford don Richard Dawkins, has refused repeatedly to debate William Lane Craig. In typical New Atheist fashion, he doesn’t offer reasons for his refusal but only insults: He asked colleagues in the philosophy department at Oxford, he said, and “no one” had heard of Dr. Craig. Dr. Craig is simply too small of a fish for an intellectual giant such as himself to bother with.
It’s true that many atheists are now embarrassed by Dawkins’s refusal to debate Craig. They recognize that such arrogance only underscores the reality that, for all their swagger, the New Atheists are actually bereft of the one thing they claim to have but don’t: rational arguments. For armchair philosophizers such as myself, who follow these debates like beach volleyball at the Olympics, we can only hope that one day the New Atheists will gather their forces and give us all a real argument worth pondering.