the New Atheists, who affect an apodictic absolutism in their argumentation that makes them as impregnable to counterevidence as anything found in a creationist textbook. In his recent book God and the New Atheism, the Georgetown theologian John Haught has usefully captured this quasi-religious absolutism among the New Atheists by summarizing their position as a seven-point “creed”:
1. Apart from nature, which includes human beings and our cultural creations, there is nothing. There is no God, no soul, and no life beyond death.
2. Nature is self-originating, not the creation of God.
3. The universe has no overall point or purpose, although individual human lives can be lived purposefully.
4. Since God does not exist, all explanations and all causes are purely natural and can be understood only by science.
5. All the various features of living beings, including human intelligence and behavior, can be explained ultimately in purely natural terms, and today that usually means in evolutionary, specifically Darwinian terms.
6. Faith in God is the cause of innumerable evils and should be rejected on moral grounds.
7. Morality does not require belief in God, and people behave better without faith than with it.
Freud and Nietzsche no doubt had their dogmatic commitments, but at least they would have recognized the sixth and seventh axioms especially as quite preposterous. They were too familiar with the evil lurking in the foul rag-and-bone shop of the human heart to think it could be expelled by the simple expedient of evicting God. In that light, what’s really new about the New Atheists is their reliance on an oxymoron: they actually seem to believe in a utopian Darwinism—a faith-based science if there ever was one.