PZ Myers attempts to lay out some talking points to help smooth over the differences between the Gnu Atheists and the Accomodationists.
Let me first strike a note of harmony and unity: we’re all atheists. Those of us who are activists for atheism share a common passion for the cause — the reason why we are activists is that we care very deeply about this cause.
Myers acknowledges he is an activist. I often refer to the Gnu leaders as activists and, as you can see, I am just acknowledging their self-professed roles. But remember, an activist has a Cause and that Cause often entails a deep emotional and psychological attachment. In other words, when we are dealing with activists, it is highly unlikely that we are dealing with people who can approach the controversial issues with an open and fair mind. Activists are disqualified from being objective judges of reality.
But there are differences. Not just in how we operate, but within our motivations — atheists are a diverse lot.
Of course they are diverse. As we have seen here, atheism is ultimately a subjective opinion and reason, along with evidence, are insufficient for generating rational consensus. Never forget that when one set of atheists accuses the other set of being sexual harassers and rapists, and the other set responds by accusing the accusers of being wild-eyed, witch-hunters, both sides claim to champion reason and evidence.
Yet suddenly, when they all start to agree about God not existing, they completely change their ways and become Mr. Spock. Riding on the back of a beautiful unicorn, that is.
Some of us are committed to identifying truths. When we see intellectual laziness and outright lies, we’re appalled.
Thus speaks the one who publicly accuses a famous skeptic of being a rapist with very little evidence.
Before we can be friends, they have to realize that what the religious are saying is completely wrong.
Extremists tend to think their enemies are 100%, “completely wrong.” The religious are, after all, according to Dawkins, nothing more than “faithheads.”
These differences between accommodationists and confrontationists are real. They represent the fact that this isn’t a group of cookie-cutter atheists whose every goal is identical; we share the broader purpose but have different foci and strengths within it.
Exactly what broader purpose do they share? This sounds to me like Myers is wishcasting. What we need is some joint statement from Gnus such as Myers, Dawkins and Coyne, along with some leading accomodationists, that clearly lays out such a “shared broader purpose.” Because I don’t see one.