• CFI / RDFRS Merger Looms Large

    As you’ve probably heard by now, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) is planning to merge with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS) in the very near future.

    Here is my reaction face when I first heard about the merger in progress:


    (Never thought I’d get to use that picture again, by the way. Please note the hat.)

    I am relatively optimistic about this merger, but there are three possible sources of tension which might make the transition less than smooth. The first is fairly obvious: RDFRS is focused on science outreach and freeing minds from theism, whereas CFI does those things as part of the broader ethical project that is secular humanism. There may be, as a result, some struggles sorting out the priorities of the newly merged organization.

    The second is related to the first: Humanists tend to take a more accommodationist approach to dealing with our religious friends, whereas Richard Dawkins and other so-called “New Atheists” tend to be more directly confrontational, more apt to bring up the problem of religious moderates covering for religious extremists. If you weren’t around for the last time we went through that particular kerfuffle, here is a reasonably calm panel discussion on point:

    The confrontation/accommodation kerfuffle pales in comparison to the more recent struggle between liberal feminism and intersectional (social justice) feminism. (Alas, we’ll probably never get to the point where we can do a thoughtful and balanced panel discussion on those great rifts.) The final problem which the newly merged organization shall face will be hostility from the latter group, who tend to see Richard Dawkins in the least charitable light. For example:

    That last one is particularly strident, concluding that “the skeptic/atheist sphere is an embarrassing shitshow” and advancing a surprisingly sex-negative metaphor about fellatio. It is safe to say that the Skepchick wing of the movement will not be enthusiastically supporting the new CFI any time soon, and that despite the fact that it will soon be lead by a brilliant and capable woman.

    Despite all the challenges ahead, I’m fairly excited about this changing of the guard and the potential for cross-fertilization between RDFRS and CFI. Looking forward to hearing of new developments in the works.


    Category: AtheismCurrent EventsFeminismSecularism

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.