This was a response to AC Grayling writing previously. There is a kind of musical chairs going on while the Guardian works out which brand of contrarianism will sell most a l'express.
Still, it got me thinking and browsing and so forth and this from the excellent Butterflies and wheels' notes section seemed to me to be the final word:
""But atheism is perfectly compatible with agnosticism, may indeed be the same thing. I (still) don't see why not being a theist necessarily proceeds from any beliefs about the cosmos. Not being a socialist or a Friedmanite doesn't necessarily proceed from any beliefs about economics; and so on. Are you claiming that theist belief is so natural that its absence requires prior beliefs?"
I would call it an epiphany were I that way inclined, but this is exactly the point - to a theist, theism is that natural that there is some horror that others cannot see their truth. I can only assume that this is why a Christian would resort to lying and re-defining words to illustrate his prejudice - if you see Hobson's reply in the comments to his piece:
"I am defining 'hard-core atheism' - as belief that history improves when religion is ditched. "
To which Ophelia Benson's prior retort:
"Yes, certainly. And cucumbers are heavy orange rectangular things that are useful for building walls or heaving through atheists' windows, and sailboats are fiercely hot little green things you can put in beans or stew or atheists' eyes, and winter is that very stocky bald guy in the red jumpsuit over there who might be an atheist by the looks of him. In other words, what a ridiculous display of free-association. All those things fit the description of some atheists and agnostics, no doubt, but they're certainly not part of the meanings of the words. Back to argument school for Theo Hobson."
seems even more apposite.
That a theologian argues against anti-clericalism is quaint but uninteresting (a tad weird for the Guardian, but not entirely inappropriate), but that he then inflates this group to encompass all atheists is precisely the argument that is used against Dawkins.
every time I see Grayling or Dawkins poke their heads above the parapets, I sit and hope that it is to people like Hobson that the papers turn to for a refutation.