In the current issue of Scientific American (September 2007), Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, sends an "open letter" to four religious skeptics - Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. (1) Books by all four of these authors are currently on the New York Times best-seller list. In his letter Shermer warns the authors that the militant, in-your-face tone of their narratives is likely to be counterproductive. He writes: "It is irrational to take a hostile or condescending attitude toward religion because by doing so we virtually guarantee that religious people will respond in kind." (2) He counsels the authors against "passionate diatribes," urges them to be respectful and tolerant of religious moderates, and calls on them to supplement the case against religion with the case for humanism.
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