Watch Christopher Hitchens improve the 10 Commandments". Commenter Jame Sweet nails the value Hitchens has for the atheists' cause, and why the "not scholarly enough" criticism doesn't fly for him:
If you want someone to go on Fox News for sixty seconds and defend the atheist position ... Hitchens is your man. I think it is exactly because of his willingness to fiercely pursue an argument with a weak or poorly-understood foundation that he is able to acquit himself so well in the fast-paced fact-lite world of cable news and other forms of mainstream media. He makes his point fast, furious, and forcefully, with no apologies, no equivocation, and no caveats. He tends to be difficult to take out of context, because each statement (when he's on these types of show) is fully self-contained. There's no nuanced case-building, just raw talking points delivered with passion and fury.
Exactly. Nuanced, detailed, and scholarly-correct arguments mean little in today's socio-political context. One need only examine the Global Warming e-mail scandal to see that. We certainly need the scholarly defense in our arsenal, and atheists have no shortage of that. But we also need the Hitchens of the world to parse it down into bite sized chunks.