Activist Richard Dawkins has succeeded in stirring up another fight among the New Atheists. And this time, it is over the t-shirt that looks like a uniform. As a result, Dawkins had to step in to calm the flock.
While I had some fun with this , there is a serious angle on it all.
Here we have a leader and a movement that represents hardcore anti-religious sentiments and goals. Yet this very anti-religious movement itself is becoming increasingly religious in nature. There is one significant admission in Dawkins plea (that explains this blog entry):
I admit, I sympathize with those sceptics on this site who fear that we are engendering a quasi-religious conformity of our own. Whether we like it or not, I'm afraid we have to swallow this small amount of pride if we are to have an influence on the real world, otherwise we'll never overcome the 'herding cats' problem.
By encouraging "quasi-religious conformity," it seems to me that it's not so much swallowing pride as it is abandoning principle. This is an example where the end justifies the means, such that if one has to mimic religiosity to have influence, Dawkins and his followers are willing to go down that slippery slope. Of course, this is not the first example of an attempt to encourage conformity. Dawkins himself is the one who started the campaign of labeling other atheists who don't conform as "appeasers."
It would be cool if David Sloan Wilson (or someone like him) decided to study Dawkins and his nascent quasi-religious movement.