But skeptical atheists typically hold the opposite position. If you use the best methods available, you will find definite, specific reliable answers to questions about the character and diversity of organisms (evolution), the shape of the earth (roundish), the motion of objects with or near objects of substantial mass (gravitation), and the efficacy and safety of vaccinations (effective and many orders of magnitude safer than having a lot of communicable diseases running around). In just the same sense, if you use the exact same methods to find reliable answers to questions about God, you will indeed find a definite and specific answer: no god exists.
To a certain extent, I will grant that atheism also entails a "extra-skeptical" component: a lot of god talk does indeed consist of "non-testable claims", i.e. meaningless blather. But quite a lot of god talk does consist of testable claims, and the meaningless blather is being used to provide a "philosophical justification" for the actual testable claims. I have no idea what atheists say at skeptical conferences (they're not my cup of tea, but if they're yours, more power to you), but if any critic of atheist participation wishes to persuade me, they can actually argue that the atheists are either actually mistaken or making philosophical points at a skeptical conference. Lippard does neither.
It's bad enough that atheists are accused of "dogmatically" adhering to skepticism, but I can deal with that. But it burns my fucking shorts when skeptics insinuate that atheism is an a priori dogma. And it also burns my fucking shorts when skeptics demand that I shut up not because I'm wrong, but because I'm hurting their cause, such as when Lippard says,
The broader skeptical movement produces greater social benefits by promoting more critical thinking in the general public than does the narrower group of skeptical atheists who primarily argue against religion and especially the smaller subset who are so obsessed that they are immediately dismissed by the broader public as monomaniacal cranks.If I wanted to support your agenda, I would support your agenda. But I have my own agenda, and I don't demand that you shut up because you're not supporting me. Tell me I'm wrong and I'll listen, but if you tell me to shut up because I'm unpopular then you're just going to get a big fat "Go fuck yourself."
So, go fuck yourself, Lippard.