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Jun 22 2011

Seven Heroes updated.

There seems to have been some confusion (some on my part, some on the part of people who read or skimmed my last post).

The first error was mine. The post from David Silverman was a blog post and not an American Atheists press release, as I had represented. That said, it was a public statement on the subject from the President of the organization and I think it carries similar weight…but perhaps not.

Some people have mistakenly assumed that AA was planning legal action over this. They’re not. I never thought they were and I thought I was clear about that when I wrote:

American Atheists does a great job of making sure that they only take legal battles that they’re likely to win and they’ve been critical of Michael Newdow, and others, who risk setting bad legal precedent by challenging things we aren’t likely to win. I’m not in complete agreement on every decision about which cases we take and which we don’t, but I recognize that we have to be careful.

I really wish, though, that the same sort of careful thinking went into decisions about which issues to challenge in the court of public opinion.

Evidently, that wasn’t clear enough and I apologize. There is no legal action being taken here, it was simply an editorial piece.

Additionally, some people, rather ironically, took this opportunity to over-react and beat up on David or American Atheists or whatever…

That’s a mistake. David is a friend and while there may be one or two fine points on which we disagree, that’s true for all of my friends including ACA members, co-hosts on the shows and even Beth. I’m encouraged by the changes he’s made to American Atheists. I’m also supportive, optimistic and eager to work with him and AA on almost any project that my schedule allows for.

This was about one very fine point of disagreement. What I should have done was also link to comments and statements by other people that I disagree with (CFI NY was on Fox news, evidently, essentially agreeing with the AA blog post). That would have helped to ensure that this didn’t turn into a “beat up on Dave and AA” theme…because that’s a bigger mistake than the post I objected to.

Suffice it to say, I’ll take a slightly different approach in the future to avoid confusion. My opinion on this subject hasn’t changed – but discussing these differences benefits all of us. Or at least I’d hope it does.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    John K.

    Admission of poor communication, clarification, respectful disagreement, and finally constructive improvement.If only we could meet more theists with such a respectful and constructive attitude.

  2. 2
    Thomas F. Bourque

    "Admission of poor communication, clarification, respectful disagreement, and finally constructive improvement.If only we could meet more theists with such a respectful and constructive attitude."If we only had more people in general…

  3. 3
    Louis

    Personally, I don't think you were unclear at all. Still, I suppose to is rather common for people to read things into other statements which were not intended. Sigh.

  4. 4
    mikekoz68

    This is a difficult issue to decide on as I can agree with both sides. The comparison to "IGWT" on US currency makes me think that using the term "heaven" is the wrong thing to do. While a lot of Atheists are not ok with the "IGWT" its deemed a trivial battle now- the time to have opposed it was when the idea first came about. So similarly, I think I oppose the "heaven" idea because we may regret it more later. A poll! Go vote for TAE and NonProphets! http://www.skeptical-science.com/critical-thinking/poll-skeptical-podcasts/

  5. 5
    DavidCT

    There is so much out there that it is impossible to get it all right all the time. Thank you for the update Matt.

  6. 6
    James

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2011/06/help-talkorigin.htmlHere's a link about helping TalkOrigins bid for the rights to "Expelled." The auction is on Tuesday, June 28th."Today, the TalkOrigins Archive Foundation approved a resolution to use our funds on hand to put in a bid on “Expelled”. We hope to make many of the materials freely available and to collaborate with other groups seeking to produce rebuttals to claims made in “Expelled”. To that end, we would like your help. Our final bid amount will be determined by funds on hand and what has come in via our PayPal donation button by Monday, June 27th. This is because there are delays in transfers between PayPal and the bank, and (hopefully!) we’ll need to pay out of our bank account."There is a link to their paypal account in the link above.

  7. 7
    MAtheist

    I personally don't equate heaven solely with Christianity any more than I equate the generic "god" in the national motto with the Christian god. Unfortunately, though, I believe that the majority of people do. So, while I am glad that this wasn't made into a legal issue, and I wish that what David said was more like Matt's response, I am glad that at least some statement was made. Hopefully, some people may begin to question their irrational beliefs because of it, or at least understand how it can be seen a violation of the rights that we all share.

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