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If we never mention the New Atheists again— they’re atheists! and they’re new! —I’d be just as glad. They always seem to me giddy with the fumes of a dying worldview, and there’s little in them that wasn’t said more forcefully by Robert G. Ingersoll. Haven’t we been there and done all that? And haven’t we moved on?

Ah, well. I guess not, and I find I’m nearly alone in my boredom with the new genre. All my more pugnacious friends— Who is the happy Warrior ? Who is he / That every man in arms should wish to be? —are energized by the struggle. David Berlinski, for instance, has a sharp new book just out: The Devil’s Delusion .

I first got to know David when he began publishing in Commentary in the 1990s, and his science writing always struck me as sensible and smart. In this new book, he admits that he is not a strong religious believer—but, sensibly and smartly, he finds he just can’t stand the scientific and philosophical pretension in the New Atheists.

Meanwhile, Michael Novak has galleys ready for No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Unbelievers , his new book coming out shortly. Again, it looks sensible and smart, and it relates the New Atheism to the religious experience of the “dark night of the soul.”

I would recommend either, recommend both, as the good, exciting reads they actually are—if I weren’t so determined to maintain the pose that I’m bored by the topic.

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