Skeptic Infighting

Reflections on the skeptic and atheist movements

“The Harris-Chomsky exchange, in my mind, summarizes a lot of what I find unpleasant about the skeptic and atheist movements: a community who worships celebrities who are often intellectual dilettantes, or at the very least have a tendency to talk about things of which they manifestly know very little; an ugly undertone of in-your-face confrontation and I’m-smarter-than-you-because-I-agree-with [insert your favorite New Atheist or equivalent]; loud proclamations about following reason and evidence wherever they may lead, accompanied by a degree of groupthink and unwillingness to change one’s mind that is trumped only by religious fundamentalists; and, lately, a willingness to engage in public shaming and other vicious social networking practices any time someone says something that doesn’t fit our own opinions, all the while of course claiming to protect “free speech” at all costs.”

Massimo Pigliucci, May 11, 2015

Is Richard Dawkins destroying his reputation?

“The scientist and bestselling writer has become the face of a new crusading atheism. But even his closest allies worry that his online provocations do more harm than good.”

Sophie Elmhirst, The Guardian, June 9, 2015

Why Richard Dawkins ‘is not a scientist’

“What else is he? I mean journalism is a high and influential profession. But he’s not a scientist, he’s never done scientific research. My definition of a scientist is that you can complete the following sentence: ‘he or she has shown that…”

Steve Connor, The Independent, November 10, 2014

Richard Dawkins has lost it: Ignorant sexism gives atheists a bad name

“Like many scientists who accomplished great things earlier in their careers, Richard Dawkins has succumbed to the delusion that he’s infallible on any topic he chooses to address, and in so doing, has wandered off the edge and plummeted into belligerent crankery.”

Adam Lee, The Guardian (commentary), September 18, 2014

Closer Look at Rift Between Humanists Reveals Deeper Divisions

Paul Kurtz is the leading institution builder amongst the opponents of supernaturalism, having founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and the Council for Secular Humanism and the publishers of Skeptical Inquirer. Based on an interview with Kurtz, this article by Mark Oppenheimer reveals serious conflicts amongst Humanists.

Mark Oppenheimer, The New York Times, October 1, 2010

An Ungodly Row: Dawkins Sues his Disciple

“Josh Timonen was one of a small coterie of young protégés around Richard Dawkins, sharing his boss’s zealous atheism. But now he and the evolutionary theorist have fallen out spectacularly. Professor Dawkins’s charity has accused Mr. Timonen of embezzling hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Tom Rowley and Alistair Walker, The Independent, October 25, 2010

Atheist Ireland publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers

Ironically, the sheer quantity of his harmful rhetoric can seem to minimise the harm of each example, as each example can hide behind a wall of other examples.

Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland, April 7, 2015

PZ Myers publicly hates and despises people, not merely their ideas or behaviour

I and others in the atheist movement have repeatedly asked PZ, both privately and now publicly, to reconsider and change his harmful behaviour…

Michael Nugent, December 27, 2014

The Wall of Silence Around Michael Shermer

Adam Lee, Daylight Atheism, September 29, 2014

Oh, No, Not again… Once More Unto the Breach

PZ Myers, Pharyngula, July 3, 2011

Richard Dawkins Gets into a Comments War with Feminists

Caitlin Dickson, The Wire, July 6, 2011

Richard Dawkins – Skeptic of Women?

“The famed nonbeliever goes after a female blogger for complaining about a creepy encounter with a male atheist.”

Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon, July 8, 2011

Goodbye For Now

Jennifer McCreight, BlagHag, September 4, 2012

It Stands to Reason, Skeptics Can Be Sexist Too

“I spoke out about sexual harassment among atheists and scientists. Then came the rape threats.”

Rebecca Watson, Slate, October 24, 2012

On a weirdly related note, the Daily Grail has published a story about JREF…

“It’s not good news for JREF. They’ve been bleeding donations for a number of years, going from $1.56 million in 2011 to $887.5K in 2013. They appear to be consolidating with their administrative offices, which can only mean that the reduction in funding is really hurting them.”

Craig Weiler, The Weiler Psi, September 2, 2014