Now, Ed Brayton has published his letter of apology to Dawkins. In that letter Brayton criticizes Dawkins for making it more difficult to oppose American creationists. This is the classic appeasement position and I'm delighted that Brayton has made his position clear. I reject it entirely. Writing to Dawkins to ask him to tone down his criticism of religion is a really, really stupid thing to do. Among other things, it shows us that Brayton doesn't understand the fight between rationalism and superstition.
It shows us something else as well. Ed Brayton needs to learn that the world does not revolve around the USA. People who live in other countries don't react well when they're told to put a muzzle on because their ideas might not play well in America.
Here's what Brayton says,
Let me address, as well, a more general subject. You and I agree on a great many things and disagree on a few. We are both staunch defenders of evolution against the ignorant attacks of creationists of every stripe, but I genuinely do believe that your aggressive anti-theism makes it more difficult for those of us engaged in the daily fight to protect science education to make our case. I hope that you understand what I believe to be the single most important aspect of this dispute, which is that the vast, vast majority of those who reject evolution do so solely because they believe it disproves their religion. The average person knows as little about evolutionary biology as I know about Sumerian architecture, which is to say virtually nothing. The only thing they know, on an almost reactive level, is that evolution = no god = no morality. Now, I think it's important to attack this misconception at the levels you do as well, by pointing out that atheism does not lead to immorality, and I make that argument loudly and often. But I assure you that for those of us "on the ground" in the battle, so to speak, every anti-theistic statement you make is amplified by our opponents and used as a sort of prophylactic to guard against the infiltration of not only evolution but of virtually all scientific thought.I'd like to make one more point. I find it very offensive for Ed Brayton to state that he is "on the ground" in the fight against creationism, implying that Richard Dawkins isn't. Brayton is not a scientist and he is not an expert on evolution. Yet Brayton is lecturing Dawkins on the proper strategy to pursue in order to defeat the forces of superstition and anti-science. That's hubris.
I am in full agreement with Dr. Tyson, in his admonition to you at the recent Beyond Belief conference, that if you would just be more circumspect in your hostility toward religion, at least in regards to those who are largely on our side in the evolution conflict, it would help a great deal. I hope you will accept that criticism from me as graciously as you accepted it from him at the time ( and I say that with full recognition that I could also learn a thing or two about being more reserved and less bombastic from time to time). I can tell you with no hesitation that it would make my work in this regard a good deal easier and would help avoid the kinds of emotional distractions that are fed and amplified by the anti-evolution movement.