The new new atheists

Russell Powell

Last week, Richard Dawkins made his embarrassing radio gaffe. This week Alain de Botton landed in town. You'll hear a lot about both in the weeks ahead.

Dawkins maybe a new atheist but he's definitely old style. Invective often seems to be his chief weapon. By comparison, De Botton is on a charm offensive.

He was on the ABC here and here. I thought he might draw more publicity, but then he's only just started a tour promoting his book. It's worth taking some time to look at his approach, summed up in the book's catchphrase "Even if religion isn't true, can't we enjoy the best bits." His brand of godless apologetics is the new new atheism.

By the way, even before Dawkins hits our shores again, it seems he has switched camps. According to the Telegraph in the UK he is now an agnostic not an atheist...

The Rudd-Gillard race pushed a lot of other news of the front page this week - but other stories worthing noting are Professor Patrick Parkinson's contribution to the debate over the myth of good divorce, questions about whether a first century fragment of Mark has been found and I'm not sure what to think of this - the very religious rate higher on “well being” scale.