That open letter to the NCSE by Jerry Coyne really seems to have set the cat among the pigeons — it’s an amazing flurry of ruffled feathers. I don’t see how there’s any hope of reconciliation, either, as long as the apologists for religion continue to be as obtuse as they have been. Roger Stanyard of the BCSE is unloading furiously on Richard Dawkins right now:
We don’t entirely know Peter but this is very definetly an attack on both the BCSE and the NCSE by the “New Atheists” including Richard Dawkins. It’s very personal and nasty as well. Basically they want the NCSE and the BCSE to back “New Atheism” and many of the people signing the letter are very hostile to us including and working with people who are religious.
The highlighting is mine, but the stupidity is Stanyard’s. How often do we have to repeat ourselves? There is no goal of turning the NCSE or the BCSE into an atheist organization; we think having an organization that is honestly neutral on the religious issue is extremely useful in advancing the cause of good science education for all. We want the NCSE/BCSE to support neither atheism nor religion.
You know what? The atheists in this argument have a crystal-clear understanding of the difference between atheism and secularism, and are saying that the science education organizations should be secular. It’s these sloppy accommodationists who have allowed liberal christianity to become their default position who have violated the distinction.