Personally, I find this rather astonishing. When I first began debating, I expected requests for evidence, questions about the existence of evil and suffering, and discussion about how evolution relates to theism. What I didn’t expect is a complete rejection of the topic for discussion.
Rather, I assumed that anyone showing up for a metaphysical debate already agreed that metaphysics was a valid topic to discuss. The fact that so many disagreed on this point, and seemed to feel no hesitation about rejecting (even ridiculing) metaphysics left me with two possible theories:
1. The New Atheist movement is interested only in rhetorical persuasion, and is therefore unconcerned about whether or not its claims are logically consistent.
2. These people don’t actually know what metaphysics is, and are unaware that their own position is every bit as metaphysical as theism.
I tend to suspect that the former idea is more true of people like Dawkins, Krauss, and Harris than their lip-service to reason would have us believe, but I like to think that the latter is the main issue for most (that being the more morally excusable of the two).
As such, I find that most who attack metaphysics get very stumped when one explains what the use of metaphysics actually means. In most of these debates, it is simply applying logic to the question at hand. And, so far, I’ve not encountered anyone willing to respond by dismissing logic.
Moreover, most seem hesitant to dismiss those metaphysical principals that are the basis of science – at least, so long as it is being pointed out that they would be demising science by doing so. As such, the metaphysical concepts of Ockham’s Razor and Sufficient Reason are a little more safe than others.
I say “a little more” because so many have been willing to reject sufficient reason in discussions on, say, the Kalam Cosmological Argument (which asserts that the universe must have a cause). It seems odd that the basis of science isn’t more treasured by this group. But, rather than read implications into that, my point is that the rejection of these principles is deeply anti-science, and should be rejected on those grounds.
I suspect that it is going to become increasingly well-known that a rejection of metaphysics is a rejection of science (not to mention all rationality). If that happens, Those who have based their argument in the rejection of metaphysics will begin to look very foolish.
So, for those who are simply interested in the rhetorical value of sound-bytes, this may not be the wisest choice, even then.