Jerry Coyne wrote an open letter to the NCSE and BCSE complaining of a perceived pro-liberal Christianity bias within the organizations, and a tendency for people who work for them to bash “New Atheists”, alienating their allies.
I am not all that familiar with the BCSE so I am not going to comment on that except to point out that the BSCE’s boards seem to figure its rubbish. The NCSE on the other hand, well I have my own issues with it.
The central problem with the NCSE so far as I see it is it more or less sets the divide between crazy and non-crazy religion at evolution acceptance. It actively promotes a form of theology in a bid to promote evolution as what a lot of us see a theological position as well as a scientific one.
With what is basically a campaign of promoting liberal religion in order to further evolution acceptance, the NCSE misses some basic profound science issues that aren’t evolution. Religion often includes the idea that prayer can be beneficial, when in fact scientific study into this area (at least with regards to alleviating ill health) has ended up with the Cochrane Collaboration recommending no further research be done.
The Cochrane Collaboration almost never does that.
The non-accommodation conflict with religion is not one that can be settled by the religious letters project, it is one of basically why you believe what you believe. It does us no good if people believe in evolution because their pastor says they should, because then people will continue to believe in the power of prayer because their pastor says they should.
What we want is for people to accept evolution via natural selection based on the best evidence we have available, not believe in it based upon a trusted authority telling them to. The best means we, the “New Atheists” see to achieving this is for science education bodies to ignore religion entirely.
Let people make up their own minds on whether evolution fits their concept of creation, and how.
That means not running “religion and science” projects, not going for pastor based endorsements, but rather quite simply stating what the facts are. Leave the atheist/theist debate for groups like the Templeton Foundation, Biologos and the “New Atheists.”
Because otherwise the NCSE runs the risk of alienating its atheist support in much the same way that the Democratic Party in America is alienating liberals.