How do you promote your book when its ideas are flawed and easily refutable? Simple. You put out a press release, let Google Alerts do their magic, and sit back and relax until everyone wants to know more about how anyone could *seriously* believe what you’re saying.

A biographical survey of influential atheists of the past four centuries — Freud, Friedrich Nietzche, Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, among many others — shows that this “defective father hypothesis” provides a consistent explanation of the “intense atheism” of these thinkers. A survey of the leading defenders of Christianity over the same period — G.K. Chesterton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Edmund Burke, among others — confirms the hypothesis, finding few defective fathers. Vitz concludes with an intriguing comparison of male and female atheists and a consideration of other psychological factors that can contribute to atheism.

His book — and I’ve been skimming through an electronic copy of it — is not much more expansive or elaborate than that. Vitz cherry-picks atheists whose biographies attest to fathers who were delinquent or absent throughout their lives… and then points to Christians whose dads were around (he calls them the “control group”).

And that’s about it.