I pointed out my surprise that Powell pretty much ignored any real criticism of Dawkins within atheist circles (especially regarding Elevatorgate).
Sarah Pulliam Bailey, a religion reporter herself, didn’t take that omission lightly at all. She wonders whether other controversial figures would have been treated in the same way:
A profile is supposed to break new ground. If there are criticisms within atheist circles, shouldn’t they come up in the piece, at least briefly? From an advocate’s perspective, is it better to have a glowing profile that tells us nothing new than something more objective? Maybe it is, I don’t know. Really, not to sound defensive, but can we imagine the same piece being published on Tim Keller, Charles Chaput, even Francis Collins?
So, to rephrase her question, did the New York Times refrain from any substantive criticism of Dawkins because it’s non-existent, because they’re biased, because the reporter was also a heathen, or for some other reason?
I agree that’s a discussion worth having.
For what it’s worth, the profile focused on Dawkins’ science advocacy more than his atheism, and it’s not like his science beliefs are all that controversial.