This one coming via email from Paul Kurtz, chair of the Council for Secular Humanism and the “father of the secular humanist movement”:
May I then disagree with [Harris’] subsequent “seditious proposal” that we should not call ourselves “secularists,” “humanists,” “secular humanists,” “naturalists,” “skeptics,” etc. “We should go under the radar for the rest of our lives,” he advises. We should be “responsible people who destroy bad ideas wherever we find them.”
That sounds lofty but in my view it is counter-productive.
Why is that? Because, Kurtz says, we “need to organize with other like-minded individuals.”
Should we operate only as single individuals who may get published or speak on street corners with little influence or clout? Come on, Sam, that is unrealistic; for almost no one would be heard and we would be lone voices in the city canyons, unheard and drowned out by the powerful media. We say that democracy best functions when the citizens of a country unite under whatever label they choose to achieve what they deem to be worthy goals.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think Harris ever suggested not banding together at all. The issue was with what we called ourselves.
Speaking of which, Kurtz also gives props to Margaret Downey who organized the Atheist Alliance International convention:
I note with interest that Margaret [Downey] organized a blockbuster atheist conference in the Washington, D.C. area to which she brought many of the “new atheists.” We congratulate her on her energy.
Despite his kudos, he doesn’t mention Margaret’s group’s name, “Atheist Alliance International,” at all in his message.
It just seems like a strange omission from the head of an organization notorious for not cooperating with other atheist/Humanist groups.