Chris Mooney of The Intersection has a post up wondering how to rouse the great "silent majority". You know, to oppose the evul New Atheist fringe which is RUININGZ TEH PROGRESSIVITY AGENDAZ!!!1111!!!! Apparently. Something of that nature.
my sense, too, is that the silent majority doesn't side with either of the extremes.
At the same time, though, let's face it-in the science blogosphere, we don't hear a lot from the "silent majority." Rather, and admittedly with some important exceptions, we hear from the New Atheists.
Yet I am arguing on behalf of the silent majority,
Are you Chris? Why do these types (much like the Moral Majority folks) assume that everyone who is not ranting loudly against them is secretly on their side?
Uncertain Chad weighs in with his usual disingenuous* blowhardery but almost....almost.... gets it right. Chad points out that from his position in this supposed silent majority, it just ain't worth it. Of course, he also admits that he is on Mooney's side and can't stand the supposed "New Atheist" fringe either so that tempers the message.
So here's the counter. Mooney, Chad...some of those who don't choose to get down with the Pharyngaloid type arguing matches may actually agree with the supposed New Atheist position. I do. For the most part. I certainly agree with the critique of religion and religious influence in our USAian civil society. I even think it is totally productive to have a wackaloon fringe, culto'personality like the FCD freakos, the Pharyngaloids and Disciples of Dawkins out there beating the religious about head and brow. Good on em.
But, similar to Chad's conclusion, I also don't find it a productive use of my time to engage in these particular discussions.
For Mooney, however, I have a caution. Do not assume that the silent majority you wish to "rouse" is all the same in their orientations and beliefs. Do not assume that they will all fall on your side if you persist in the Nisbettian bashing of the New Atheist fringe. Perhaps it would be worth thinking a little harder about the goals and interests that do coincide in this vast middle of the distribution.
*"oh, I am so totally...yawn...above the fray....yawn....and uninvolved. I really could not care....yawn....any less.....but please read while I write my next six blog posts on the topic"