Why are the new breed of atheists so hopeless at rational argument and debate?

In conclusion to part one of his analysis of the recent public debate between William Lane Craig and Sam Harris, supposedly on the topic of ‘Is Good from God?  Are the Foundations of Morality Natural or Supernatural?’ (Harris said very little that was actually on this topic), Matthew Flannagan writes:

Harris’s attitude appeared to be, “in spite of the agreed-on subject of the debate, I’ll say whatever negative thing I like about Christianity and that will surely count as an awesome argument.”  Unfortunately for the new atheists rational discussion does not function this way.  Rational discussion involves listening to what your opponent actually contends, attempting to understand it, responding with reasoned arguments and sticking to the topic you agreed would be the focus of the discussion.

More:

Debate Review: Sam Harris and William Lane Craig on Ethical Naturalism, Part II

and:

An excellent summary and review of the debate between William Lane Craig and Sam Harris

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