From 2015, but curiously relevant, at his blog Scientia Salon:
The Harris-Chomsky exchange, in my mind, summarizes a lot of what I find unpleasant about SAM (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.
Let me give you some examples and name some names of big boys who can take the criticism and who will keep doing what they have been doing regardless of what I write anyway. More.
By all means, pull up a chair and tell us about it. We’ve heard plenty of and from those folk.
But it does mean that I see the future of SAM differently from some others: we have moved from the fringe position of the early days (say, when Skeptical Inquirer was called The Zetetic, and Madalyn Murray O’Hair was busy establishing the very same culture of in-your-faceness that her organization has almost unfailingly maintained since) to the mainstream (from the publication of the early New Atheist books until now, and likely into the proximate future).
Where to next, then? Toward a true integration and a dialogue (as opposed to a shouting match) with the rest of society, when we will not need special organizations and dedicated meetings, because secularism, skepticism, and political progressivism (including feminism) will be part of the normal cultural landscape, embedded by default in ongoing discussions on how to make this a better world. That’s where my target audience is now: I’d rather have a productive conversation with an intelligent Christian than a frustrating one with an obtuse atheist, and believe me, there is plenty of both out there.
You know, it sounds like Pigliucci is growing up and wants to converse with adults. Lots to talk about.
See also: Massimo Pigliucci on string theorists vs. “Popperazi”
Massimo Pigliucci: Platonic view of evolution is just SO wrong
Biologist and philosopher Pigliucci won’t renew membership in new atheists?
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