We all have those moments, the ones in which we find ourselves unsurprised by the news we have just received, but are shocked and saddened nonetheless. I speak, of course, about the death of Christopher Hitchens. Everyone knew it was coming, that it was only a matter of time. Still, you could feel the sadness flowing in the words that were coming up on my Facebook news-feed.
Two weeks ago, the CFI On Campus Course of Reason blog posted a piece that I wrote in response to JT Eberhard's Skepticon 4 talk titled “Why the Skeptic Community Must Concern Itself with Mental Illness." My post caused quite a reaction for some people in the skeptic/atheist community; most of the reactions were not positive.
I think it is important that the skeptic community not be subsumed by the atheist community. What am I talking about? I’m talking about something as seemingly trifling as a name. At Skepticon IV this year, Dave Silverman gave a call-to-arms talk about why we in the skeptic community should adopt ‘atheist’ as our preferred nomenclature. I think the term ‘atheist’ is a fitting description, but only in the context of the God question. Other than that, it says very little about the movement, or community, or whatever.