What Dawkins et al do, which by my standards – yes, folks, I’m a socialist feminist atheist who uses “rude words” and I have standards! – is worse is that they demand to be treated as leaders because they say they are leaders. A useless project anyway but more damaging than any amount of boisterous argument among intelligent people who are trying to thrash out a number of important questions.
Among the matters they refuse to address are – does this multi-faceted rabble want a formal leadership? does it need one? if it does then is the market driven hierarchical one best suited to the task? have they asked any other atheists? does trying to set up an authoritarian regime before you have secured the territory make sense? does it matter who they’re prepared to get in bed* with to further their hegemony? why go forward with this when even an averagely bright Christian can spot that there are so many questions unaddressed? why choose this particular set of averagely flawed people above any other? what are they getting out of it and is that fair to the rest of us? And so forth.
I am driven back to Alexandra Kollontai who scared the wits out of Lenin with her assertion that until this revolution extends into the bedroom and into the kitchen then it is no revolution. (A paraphrase, not a quote.)
Compared with all that unfinished business, is the telling of the story confided to him by friend in the way she wanted it told, as PZ did, really worth quite so many pixels, quite so many exploding synapses? Does it justify ever more frantic attempts to impose conformity? Should anyone who says they have left religion behind be using the punishment of excommunication?
I say no!