Instead, he connects his father's militant atheism to the affliction that he reckons made Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens so caustic in their bestselling attacks on religion. "I've got a generational theory about this. Particularly if you're a man over 55 or so, perhaps something bad happened to you at the hands of religion – you came across a corrupt priest, you were bored at school, your parents forced it down your throat. Few of the younger generation feel that way. By the time I came around – I'm 42 – religion was a joke.
My parents never really took religion seriously, and neither did many of my friends did growing up. So, I just don't get all worked up about how oppressive religion is in the West because it has always been too easy to opt out. Nonetheless, Hitchens gave a last interview to Dawkins and said to be more strident, and get his collagues to close ranks. Dawkins, meanwhile, was conspiring with Stephen Jay Gould before his death to not debate critics of evolution. It's a defensiveness I simply can't empathize with.