To the people, however, who suggest that the likes of "The Four Horsemen" are not changing people's minds, check out this story: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/atheist-ministers-leading-faithful/story?id=12004359
The claim that the only people that Dawkins (Hitchens, Dennett and Harris) convince are the "fence sitters" is a bit silly when you consider that "Adam (one of the ministers in the story) said his initial doubts about God came as he read the work of the so-called New Atheists -- popular authors like the prominent scientist Richard Dawkins. He said the research was intended to help him defend his faith."
Though I disagree with the claims that people like Dawkins are "strident" and "shrill", I will say that they are not apologetic and they have no problems with pointing out absurd positions. I think that is a valuable approach.
Now, there is a difference between saying someone is stupid and saying that some one's beliefs are stupid. There is also a difference between tolerance and respect - and Penn Jillette says it well:
“There’s a big difference between tolerance and respect. Tolerance is you saying something crazy and me smiling and saying ‘that’s nice.’ Respect is when you say something crazy and I say ‘you’re out of your f---ing mind.’ Direct confrontation, direct conversation is real respect. And it’s amazing how many people get that.” The Toronto Star, "Penn Jillette and the gospel of disbelief"So, yes, the beliefs that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, that dinosaurs lived alongside humans and that we don't share common ancestors with all living species are stupid beliefs.