Oh yes you did, oh no I didn’t

Curious incidents on the Open Letter to the NCSE and BCSE thread at Jerry Coyne’s. 428 comments at present and counting. A guy called Roger Stanyard, who works for the BCSE and has lately been telling Jerry and co. to stop dissing religion because, tried to explain about how the UK is different from the US. This was entirely beside the point, as several people tried to explain in return, but Stanyard doesn’t listen good.

Those of us that run the BCSE have no mandate or freedom whatsover to back New Atheism. A goodly number of our members are religious, or indifferent to religion or are uncomfortable with New Atheism.

If we limited membership to New Atheists we wouldn’t have any activists.

Ya…that’s super super interesting, but it’s not relevant, because oddly enough Jerry’s open letter doesn’t say “Dear BCSE please back New Atheism and please limit your membership to New Atheists.” What it says is: you keep heaping invective on New Atheists and tarring people like Richard Dawkins with opprobrium, and you’re losing allies as a result.

I for one tried to clear things up for Stanyard, more than once. I also tried to pin down the essence of his confusion.

What Roger Stanyard, and other accommodationists, seem to be saying is “because we at the N/BCSE have to avoid criticizing religion, therefore we want all scientists and friends of science also to avoid criticizing religion.”

This is not reasonable. That “therefore” makes no sense. It’s like asking that nobody who votes Democratic in preference to voting Republican ever criticize any Democrat.

His cogent and civil reply began

When are you going to get it into your thick skull that the United Kingdom is not the United States.

Nobody here gives a stuff about Democrats and Republicans or your culture wars.

The BCSE has no option but to take a radically different position from you.

Yes, thank you…Meanwhile and a good deal more significantly, he also attributed a surprising statement to Richard Dawkins; Dawkins turned up and asked him to substantiate it since he (RD) did not remember saying such a thing and found it highly unlikely; Stanyard said he got it from Larry Moran; Jerry asked Larry Moran; Larry Moran said Nope, I don’t remember saying that, I remember telling you not to bash atheists…and Stanyard demanded apologies all around. Go figure.

That’s not even all of it. It’s high-class ructions, I tell you what.

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