New Atheists can take credit for the recent increase in religiously unaffiliated people, the so-called "nones," according to Daniel Dennett. The movement of best-selling books and their readers took a country where religious identity was de rigueur and made is possible to announce one didn't have any such religious identity.
In a recent five minute debate with Guardian editor Andrew Brown, arguing for New Atheism's accomplishments, Dennett says:
It was important to turn the tide and I think we've done that. I'm really very proud to say that the New Atheism has changed the face of America, as far expression of religious belief or disbelief .... What we gave [the religiously unaffiliated] was permission to declare their lack of interest in religion, which was something people were rather afraid to do before we wrote our books.There are several obvious problems with this claim.