Rather than writing a long post, I’ll just link to Jerry Coyne’s comments as he and I seem to perpetually be on very nearly the same page.
I’ll be speaking to CFI Tampa on October 16th. I plan to talk about whatever they want to talk about and I have no intention of walking into their home and telling them everything that I think is wrong with the organization.
Because the organization, on the whole, is one that I still respect and would like to support. CFI members at the local level are some of the best people that I’ve met and have been great promoters of reason, discussion, conversation and fellowship (a word I’ll use with a grin, and mean it).
But, as I’ve said before, I’m disturbed by a number of individuals in leadership positions in various skeptic and secular organizations that have explicitly or implicitly tried to ostracize outspoken atheists from their organizations. Some of them seem to be doing it for ‘big tent’ reasons, some are opting for a style over substance accommodationism and some have simply been duped by lies (“skepticism has nothing to say about untestable claims” or “outspoken atheists hurt the cause”).
I love the idea of CFI and the JREF and dozens of other organizations. I love the people in those organizations. I greatly admire and respect many of the leaders of those organizations – even those with which I strongly disagree on some subject.
The difference is that I’d never implicitly or explicitly attempt to make them feel like they didn’t belong or that they shouldn’t be permitted to present their views or any of the other nonsense that has been directed at atheists.
Dr. Shook, you’ve been duped and dazzled by sophistry and intellectual masturbation. The “contempt for religion’s intellectual side” is the result of understanding, not misunderstanding. But hey, if you’d like to send out a few free copies of your book, let me know. I think I’d like to read it…and then I’d like to have myself, Jerry Coyne, PZ Myers, and others offer reviews and commentary on it.
Let’s actually promote inquiry and discussion. Now there’s a thought.