I probably don't need to add that he is an overt atheist, though less controversial than fellow un-believer Richard Dawkins.
But your new book, "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon," is not about cathedrals. It's about religious belief, which cannot be dissected in a lab as if it were a disease.
That itself is a scientific claim, and I think it is false. Belief can be explained in much the way that cancer can. I think the time has come to shed our taboo that says, "Oh, let's just tiptoe by this, we don't have to study this." People think they know a lot about religion. But they don't know.
So what can you tell us about God?
Certainly the idea of a God that can answer prayers and whom you can talk to, and who intervenes in the world - that's a hopeless idea. There is no such thing.
Yet faith, by definition, means believing in something whose existence cannot be proved scientifically. If we knew for sure that God existed, it would not require a leap of faith to believe in him.
Isn't it interesting that you want to take that leap? Why do you want to take that leap? Why does our craving for God persist? It may be that we need it for something. It may be that we don't need it, and it is left over from something that we used to be. There are lots of biological possibilities.