I haven't got to this section yet, Dexter, but I'd have to largely agree that the new atheists argue along those lines. They often counter advocates for religion by denying that the benefits were positive on balance, after you add in all the wars and killing done in the name of religion; they blame religion for retarding the march of science; they minimize the role of religion in producing the great art and literature of past ages. They're polemical to one degree or another, which is no surprise since they're matching the polemics of the other side. The weakest argument in my view is to assert that humanity would have been better off without religion. What good does it do to say that when you couldn't be talking about the humans that we are. You'd have to be talking about some quite different species. Not only that, but where's the control group that shows the 'better' history without religion? We just don't know if things would have been better or worse, or, as Haidt I think says, whether we would have been able to be where we are at all without religion.
Last edited by DWill
on Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.