Up or down?

A professor of religion has decided that atheism is in decline and the “New Atheists” are over. Why? Because sales of books by the “New Atheists” have declined since their release several years ago, Karen Armstrong has published her silly book, and surveys show that atheists are still a minority. And the reason they flopped is because atheists are such mean poopieheads.

In other words, more bleary-eyed wishful thinking from a mind squicked by religion. Gosh, yes, older books sell at a much lower volume than fresh, new releases. And if you want to claim a trend, you can’t just cite data from one time point — you need at least two. He also thinks atheism needs to be “kinder, gentler and (most of all) wiser”. Sorry, guy. I gave all my “kinder, gentler” to my mom, and all I’ve got left is kick-ass for you…and it’s a funny definition of “wiser” that means “believe in angels”.

Besides, Mr Religion Professor ought to be reading the Christian Science Monitor, which reports that atheism is growing. Unlike Mr RP, they at least know that you need to report prior numbers compared to current numbers if you want to talk about a trend. He tut-tuts over a mere 15% of the population reporting a lack of religion. The CSM says,

Some 15 percent of Americans claim no religious affiliation, up from 8.2 percent in 1990, according to Trinity College’s American Religious Identification Survey, released in March. Also, the American Humanist Association claims 20,000 financial supporters. That marks a doubling from five years ago, says spokeswoman Karen Frantz.

It’s got much more evidence, too. My subjective feeling from visiting many freethought groups over the years has been one of remarkable growth and booming enthusiasm; the article confirms that with reports of enrollment numbers and donation figures.

Mr Religion Professor needs to stick to his day job. At least there, making stuff up and imaginary figures are considered normal.