This opposition extends to idolatry and iconoclasm which are opposite poles. Idolatry was a central concern for Barfield and here Mark Vernon is claiming that atheism and scientism (Barfield often uses the term Positivism) are iconoclastic:
atheism and scientism are iconoclastic movements. They are both linked to enhancements in the consciousness of being individual. They have facilitated a range of reforms that have deepened people's sense of inner freedom, expressed in good things from social mobility to universal education.p164I haven’t read Barfield in quite some time and I haven’t read Mark’s book yet. But scientism is an abuse of science and my experience of it and atheism, is that both are as much examples of blind uncritical belief as anything you’ll find among certain Evangelicals.