James Lazarus has posted further responses to Brian Flemming and myself at his blog. Here's my reply.
First, in my original post on the Blasphemy Challenge, I drew a distinction between the Blasphemy Challenge and the "shall we say, debateable" things that have been said on other occasions by Brian Sapient and co. Lazarus has recognized no such distinction, repeatedly bringing up such things that have not, as far as I've seen, been a part of the challenge. He gives the impression that he thinks the project is bad simply in virtue of the fact that the RRS is doing it. I certainly hope he doesn't bring a similar attitude to his interactions with me; from what I've seen of his site, we have plenty of interests in common and should be able to have more productive interactions than the current spat.
Second, I'm puzzled by Laz's insistence that what's okay on a t-shirt is not okay as something designed to end up on TV?
Is it because on TV people will take it as representing atheists as a whole? The assumption that one atheist can speak for all certainly out there, but its the kind of stupid assumption that shouldn't control our activism any more than Fox News should.
Is it fear that it could edge out other things that are worth spending time on? No one is proposing making things like the Blasphemy Challenge the only thing we do, and it's certainly not the only thing the RRS has done. If nothing else, they put together some respectable shows with Richard Carrier (and this is not to dis their other material, it's just the Carrier shows are the main thing I'm familiar with).
At risk of simply repeating what I've already said: yes, I'd love it if instead of reporting on the Blasphemy Challenge, every major TV network would give two hours of airtime to intelligent, articulate documentary work by atheists, by "a bunch of Bertrand Russells," if you like. But the former was feasible, the latter is not. Hearing a guest on Fox News suggest, however briefly, that telling kids they'll go to hell if they don't believe is harmful--that's better than nothing. It's better than nothing even if the host manages to make the guest look like an "extremist whacko."
If we want to reach as many people as possible, the goal should not be to be highbrow or lowbrow per se, rather, the goal should be to avoid being unibrow. That way there's something for everyone.
So by all means Laz, go on doing all the things you do. It's all wonderful. But don't spend lots of time complaining about projects like the Blasphemy Challenge.