I think you'd be hard pressed to find many people who have contributed more to the popularisation of evolution than Dawkins or Coyne, even if it is true that their atheist commitments are a (successful) recruiting tool for creationists. They've both published excellent and accessible books explaining why evolution is true. So it would make (or rather, would have made) sense to try to get them onside if you could.
But those bridges are thoroughly burned. As things stand, it would seem pointless to pursue those particular "celebrities", even if just for a supportive name on a letter head. You've kind of made clear that you don't want them, and they appear to have made clear they are not interested in being associated with you. So why bother?
In any case, there seems to be a consensus among BCSE supporters that in fact Dawkins and Coyne have harmed anti-creationism by in one way or another linking atheism and evolution. My view,as I've said rather too lengthily previously, is that if the BCSE is prepared to challenge creationist theology, then why not also challenge creationist use of atheology - rather than taking it at face value. Thus if creationists are saying, "well, Dawkins says you have to be an atheist if you're an evolutionist", you can explain what Dawkins actually says and why.
As cathy just said,
Dawkins 'christians who believe in evolution are deluded' quip, no matter how much he or you or anyone else believes it does play into the hands of creationists and extremists. That doesn't help the fight against insidious creeping creationism...
No point arguing here about whether it really does play into their hands or not, clearly it is in fact the case that Dawkins is (mis)used by creationists. I would have thought it was obvious that if Dawkins really does think that Christianity and evolution are incompatible, theologically, then you cannot expect him not to say so just because creationists may leap on statements to that effect for their own ends. I would go further and say you *shouldn't* expect that kind of self-censorship from anyone. It may or may not be really true that it "doesn't help", but lots of things "don't help", including things that happen to be true (or could be true, or even are at least arguable). That it doesn't help doesn't make
it untrue, I mean. After all, the biggest obstacle to acceptance of evolution among people who believe that Genesis is an accurate description of the origin of human beings, is the fact that evolution is in direct contradiction of the Genesis story. Fact is, BCSE necessarily has a very narrow focus, and Dawkins et al don't share that narrow focus. So either the BCSE can live with that, or it can't. If you can't, you need to look for other allies.
That is not cosying up to religion or accomodationism it is a simple statement of what is happening.
Nothing is ever a "simple statement" in this area. I don't see why you have, strategically, to take creationist claims about Dawkins at face value any more than you'd take their claims about Darwin's religious beliefs at face value. I think creationist "glee" about Dawkins' brand of atheism is likely to be as disingenuous as everything else they do.
I would assume not impinging on the rights of others also includes not preaching to them?
I wouldn't. I'd say preaching is a free speech issue. But you don't have the right to have your preaching listened to, and you shouldn't have the right to preach at children in publicly funded schools (actually in any school, morally, but publicly funded schools, politically).
Anyway, to come back to the strategy point, BCSE seems to have a clear position that creationism is a dangerous theocratic cult. This strikes me as eminently marketable to all manner of groups and populations for whom "creationism is scientifically false" would be seen as dull and worthy. You do have a potent message if you can get it heard above the noise.
I wouldn't write off the "new atheist" crowd either, though it doesn't feel like quite as big a phenomenon in the UK as it is in the US, for the obvious reasons. But a lot of angry people there, as I don't have to tell you, willing to stick their oar in, sign petitions etc. It's a constituency you have to learn to understand and communicate with, if you want them to engage at all, just as you'd learn to understand mumsnet or any other group. Roger says he's tried, but...
Look, there ain't no way I'll become a member, after the way I've been treated (and who cares about me anyway, right?), but I'm not a sectarian and the cause is important enough that I wouldn't just dismiss all your work. I bet there are others out there who you have written off as "not helping", or who have written you off as "accommodationist", who would still sign a petition, or write to an MP, or use your info in debates etc.
Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Whatever the hell that means.