I started writing this post as a comment and soon realized that it was far more appropriate as a post in itself. Greg is rather fucking angry about all this blog violence and infighting. Indeed, he is prepared to stick his angry boot up someones ass so far that they'll need a shoe-shine rag to brush their teeth, if they tell him that it's not his place to say what he said...
Of course it's your place to point this out - it's your fucking blog. For that matter, this is your place to comment on it too. However, I don't agree with you...Or more to the point I do, but not everyone who agrees with us on one or more of those issues, agrees with us on all of them. And therein lies the problem and the point I was trying to make to Volcanoman on that other post.
As an atheist, I am willing to accept that atheists who have what I see as reprehensible moral frames, also happen to have a common enemy with me. Honestly, common enemy or not, there are those in that group who I just flat refuse to ally myself with - which is rare for me. As an environmentalist, I accept that there are even some pretty hardcore fundamentalist theists who also happen to be ardent environmentalists - and again, there are those among them who I just can't in good conscience ally myself with.
I could go on and on - for every issue you raise, there are people who agree with us on that issue, while fervently disagreeing on others. Excepting extremists, I am happy to ally myself to those people on those specific issues, while accepting that on other issues, they are my enemies. But given that there are those in each of those groups who are my enemies, it stands to reason there will be some infighting - or outfighting within the group might be more accurate.
And then there are those with whom I have fundamental differences with, when it comes to tactics. Like Chris - you know, that dude who just came out with a book coauthored with a awesome marine biologist. He doesn't see a lot of utility in trying to convince theists to abandon theism, believing it far more important to convince them that there isn't an inherent between accepting science while being a theist. While I have no problem with making the latter point clear, I will not - absolutely will not allow that point to interfere with my fundamental belief that theism is poison - no matter what type or extreme that theism takes.
Nor am I going to play nice about it - something that many atheists believe is counterintuitive. I believe that it is a good thing for people who aren't comfortable with the sort of rhetoric I occasionally am prone to not to engage in it, but I also think it's a good thing for people who are to do so and I think it's a good idea for people who have some other way of going about it to do things their way.
But most importantly and why I categorically reject your premise, is that this very discussion is a good, incredibly positive thing. This "infighting" you are objecting to - this is exactly what drove me to where I am now. I've been engaging in this argument for about six years now and my position on it, as well as my personal religious beliefs are almost in perfect polar opposition to what they were when I first engaged in it.
I am not alone, or in any way unique.
There are a lot more people reading this stuff, including these discussions, than there are people commenting on it. Hell, with my tiny traffic blog, I get emails from people who just aren't comfortable commenting. The other post garnered me four emails from people who just wanted to tell me they appreciated my comments to Volcanoman (one also mentioned the other person I was arguing with). You get a lot of traffic and I imagine that it's only a tiny fraction of that traffic that ever responds.
It is important for people to see and understand that atheists aren't some homogeneous group of people. It is important for people to understand that the thing that makes us atheists, is a lack of religious belief - and nothing else - absolutely nothing else. Sure, there are a lot of things that many, maybe even most atheists would agree on. But that has nothing to do with us being atheists - it just means that we happen to have other shared values.
And this discussion does more than show people what atheists are and aren't. It also exposes them to arguments about the nature of religion and magical thinking - arguments that they may never hear anywhere else. It shows them that a) not all atheists are angry and/or b) that some atheists are - both of which are valid and valuable points to theists or those who simply don't identify as atheists, though their actual beliefs may qualify.