Have you heard that Richard Dawkin’s organization has merged with the Center For Inquiry, a secular humanist organization? What’s interesting is that Dawkin’s organization appears to be taking control of the CFI:
The new organization will retain the Center for Inquiry name, while giving a seat on its board to Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist who is a superstar in the atheist community for his best-selling books on atheism and science and his outspoken talks against religion.
As part of the merger, Ron Lindsay, a lawyer who has headed CFI since 2008 — and shepherded the Amherst, N.Y.-based organization through a difficult and controversial transition from its founder, humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz — will step down. Taking his spot will be Robyn Blumner, the Dawkins Foundation’s executive director for the past two years.
Normally, larger companies/organizations absorb smaller ones in such mergers, but in this case:
In addition to his celebrity, he brings a good bit of cash to CFI. It has a $5.2 million budget for 2016 and 41 employees, according to numbers supplied by CFI before the merger. In addition to its focus on secularism, CFI has programs on human rights, freedom of expression and the advancement of science. The Dawkins Foundation will bring in an additional $1.3 million to $1.5 million and three employees, a CFI spokesman said.
Apparently, the skeptics at CFI are star struck and salivated over having such a famous celebrity take over their organization. This, of course, should make for some more entertainment in the future, as atheism (which is supposed to be nothing more than a lack of God belief) picks and chooses the “humanist values” that are supposed to come with it.
In fact, some people at the CFI already seem nervous about Tweety Dawk:
“He’s also his own person, and just like everyone else associated with or employed by CFI, he can and will speak for himself on occasion,” Fidalgo added, “and not necessarily for CFI.”
The wishful thinking of skeptics. Someone needs to inform Fidalgo that Dawkins is not just someone “associated with or employed by the CFI.” He now effectively runs it. Thus, he now defines it.
Which kind of explains why Rebecca Watson, the atheist activist who has been banned from speaking at the same conventions as Dawkins, entitled her reaction as “Center for Inquiry Merges with Richard Dawkins & His Twitter Account.”
And his twitter account. 😉
On the other hand, we have this:
The news came as a surprise to many within and outside of organized atheism. There are approximately 20 atheist, humanist and other secularist organizations, all of which have rubbed elbows or collaborated with the Dawkins Foundation in the past. Why did Dawkins take his celebrity and fortune to CFI instead of the American Humanist Association, American Atheists or the Freedom From Religion Foundation, some of which have given him awards in the past?
“I think it is the science angle” at CFI, said Ryan Cragun, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tampa who is working on a book about atheist and secular organizations. “Dawkins knows CFI is going to be around for a long time, they have resources in place to support his interest in science and reason. It makes sense to go with CFI.”
Cragun is overthinking this. Why the CFI? Let’s see if this list can help:
The American Humanist Association’s budget for 2011 was about $2 million
The Center for Inquiry has a budget of around $4.8 mil
American Atheists have a budget of about 588,000
Atheist Alliance has a budget of 158,000
In addition to the CFI having the largest budget, as the news report noted, “CFI, meanwhile, has 21 international branches or representatives, from Canada to Pakistan to Zambia.”
Dawkins wanted his name attached to the largest, most extensive, skeptic/atheist organization out there. Why? Always remember he is driven by his ego. As such, at 74, a plausible explanation is this – Dawkins is trying to immortalize himself. Look, what’s to become of the Richard Dawkins Foundation once Richard Dawkins is no longer with us? For a time, it could survive as some type of memorial to Dawkins, selling even more t-shirts and trinkets. But eventually, it would go the way of Project Reason. Dawkins could, at some level, be very well aware of this and might be trying to use his celebrity status to hedge against it by attaching his name to the largest, most extensive skeptic/atheist organization out there.
Anyway, let me close by quoting Watson:
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.