Matt Nisbet is currently running a photo of Dawkins and myself with this legend: Dawkins and Myers: It’s Time to Let Others Be the Spokespeople for Science. Never mind the personal criticism, doesn’t he even realize how wrong that statement is? No, it’s worse than that; it’s so bad it’s not even wrong.
Who are the “spokespeople for science”? Is this a formal title conferred on specific individuals, is there a protocol for defining who gets the job, and most importantly, is there a salary? Nisbet doesn’t seem to realize that there are no spokespeople for science — there are just people involved in science who speak out; I don’t know of anyone who even declares themselves to be self-appointed spokespeople for science, especially not me, and not even more prominent representatives like Dawkins. Anyone who mistakes me for one of these mythical spokespeople for science, instead of a guy working within science who happens to have a blog, is too stupid to be taken seriously.
There’s also this bizarre implication that it’s a position someone lets someone else have, as if Nisbet just has to follow some esoteric parliamentary rules of order and presto, someone can be defrocked of their spokesperson’s robes and they can be conferred on someone else. Preferably Nisbet himself, apparently. There is no such process and no such power. All anyone can do is write and talk, and if people listen to them, fine, if they don’t, no problem. There is no autocracy or hierarchy that defines who can do what in this business. All I’m doing is writing, so all he can do is carp at me to shut up…ineffectively, alas.
That statement alone is sufficient to demonstrate that Nisbet is utterly clueless about science, and discredit his opinions completely. And this is the fellow who organizes AAAS symposia to tell us what to do? Weird.
Besides, everyone knows that I’m not the spokesperson for science. I’m the Elvis Presley of atheism. Let’s get the royal titles straight.