What does it mean?

The RDF is merging with CFI.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science and the Center for Inquiry, two of the world’s most respected freethought institutions, have announced their intent to merge. The new organization, which will be the largest secularist organization in the United States, will bear the name of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science (RDFRS) becoming a division of CFI.

Robyn Blumner, currently president & CEO of RDFRS, will become CEO of the combined entity on January 25. Ronald A. Lindsay, currently president & CEO of CFI, will retain the title of president until the merger is complete, and will work closely with Blumner during the transition period. Previous to leading RDFRS, Blumner was a syndicated columnist for the Tampa Bay Times and led two statewide affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union.

We’ll have to see how this shakes out. It looks from here like the RDF is absorbing CFI, which could get…interesting.

I wonder what Rebecca Watson thinks?

Speaking of Richard Dawkins refusing to allow me to be invited to events where he is speaking, for the many years I performed at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS), which began as a live show on my former podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, the organizers could never quite convince Dawkins to attend. Well, I quit SGU and now NECSS has announced that the first conference they’ve planned since my exit will feature Richard Dawkins as the keynote.

In conclusion, the skeptic/atheist sphere is an embarrassing shitshow and the organizations will continue polishing Richard Dawkins’ knob until he dies, at which point he will be sainted and his image will be put on candles and prayed to in times when logic is needed.

I don’t think she’s impressed.


  1. Athywren - This Thing Is Just A Thing says

    I look forward to listening to the re-branded “Point of Muslim Kids Are Up To Something” podcast.

  2. says

    I have never been clear on what either CFI or RDF did before, so I look forward to not understanding what the merged organization does either.

  3. says

    Other than tweeting obnoxiously, has RDF done anything to promote reason and science lately? For that matter, has CFI done any interesting inquiring?

  4. kellym says

    I think it means that CFI will become even more Slymepit-friendly than it became under Lindsay. Also, more Christina Hoff Sommers-feminist (read: anti-feminist). Given the large anti-feminist component of organized atheism, this will probably be a good move for both. So, no chance of my rejoining or ever contributing to CFI in the future. I’m finding non-atheist groups to join that more align with my values.

  5. says

    My atheism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit, and I see little sign that this represents an opening up of the movement, but more of a narrowing.

    But I’ll wait and see. I’ve heard good things about Robyn Blumner, and I’ll give her a chance.

  6. kellym says

    I read Blumner for years when she was at the St. Pete Times and loved most of her articles. I was disappointed when she left for the RDF, but understood because I would think there isn’t much job security as a newspaper columnist. But the RDF decidedly has not skewed more feminist since her tenure, so I no longer have a positive opinion of her work.

  7. Sastra says

    It looks from here like the RDF is absorbing CFI, which could get…interesting.

    Really? To me it looks like the other way around. The RDF president is taking Lindsay’s spot and bringing along the RDF, which is then being absorbed into the larger, older organization.

    I don’t foresee a lot of changes, since Dawkins’ programs re coming out atheist and helping biology teachers would already fall into areas CFI is on board with. But then I don’t know much about any power struggles at the top, or what they might mean.

  8. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says


    I have never been clear on what either CFI or RDF did before, so I look forward to not understanding what the merged organization does either.

    Hah, exactly!

  9. deepak shetty says

    CFI helped out Taslima when she needed it. Michael de Dora also does some good stuff.

  10. Great American Satan says

    what kellym said, though i’ve never had the money to be of any value to these orgs myself. cfi did an occasionally passable job tightrope walking between slyme friendliness and tossing bones to the progressive contingent, and this gives the public perception that they’re giving up on progressives altogether. that’s a bad move for growth, but growth is scary and unstable. might be more comfortable to make like a small church and tell the same reliable people what they want to hear for money. yes, boys. we should be skeptical of people pointing out your unearned privileges, trying to make space for people you don’t recognize. renew your subscription today.

  11. says

    It’s worth noting that CFI itself was founded in 1991 to bring together the Council for Secular Humanism (CSH) and Committee for Scientific Inquiry (CSI). Was this effective in opening up the movement to integrate skepticism and secular humanism? Not to my knowledge.

  12. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Seems to me they’re just making it obvious that Dawkins has his grubby little paws in pretty much everything they do.

  13. unclefrogy says

    well it may be similar to the mergers in a time of consolidation.
    not a sign of growth in organized secularization.
    uncle frogy

  14. =8)-DX says

    “two of the world’s most respected freethought institutions”
    As we used to say back in the day: pull the other one shorty, it has got bells on it.

  15. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Hm. Dawkins didn’t have his paws enough in his own thing to manage it… at all, apparently.

    He’s not interested in day-to-day management, he’s only interested in making sure the right people get feted/blacklisted. For a “super-rational” guy, he’s really quite petty.

  16. kellym says

    I’m a little surprised that Dr. Steve Novella, and his fellow SGU hosts appear to support Dawkins’ blacklisting of Rebecca. He seamed supportive of Rebecca over the unrelenting harassment she received that began with Dawkins’ hateful and poorly-reasoned “Dear Muslima.” Was Novella giving lip service to his support until Rebecca was off the show? Because it appears now that he has no problem with Dawkins’ inexcusable behavior.

    Though in hindsight, the NECSS has had Michael Shermer and Lawrence Krauss as speakers, after credible accusations of sexual assault had been made against both. And the SGU were speakers at TAM for years alongside Shermer, even after one of Shermer’s targets was blacklisted from TAM because she alluded in a speech to his sexual assault attempt.