A lot of people conflate philosophy and religion. In their devotion to science and rationality, they criticize both philosophy and religion as useless nonsense. One of the most common criticisms of philosophy is that virtually no substantial progress has ever been made on any issue of philosophical importance. Another common criticism is that philosophical problems have no discernible consequences for our lives: It doesn't matter how you respond to them, whether you ignore them or whatever, because they are figments of our imagination and of no practical importance. On these grounds, it is believed that philosophy and religion are more or less the same. Sure, philosophers might sometimes give us important tools or insights, just as religious leaders might sometimes give us important moral insights or works of art. But these came despite the philosophical or religious devotion, and not because of it. At least, that's what a lot of people believe.
I'm not going to say anything about religion in this post. Whether or not religion is nonsense and impractical is not at issue. My belief is that the meaning and value of philosophy is entirely independent of the meaning and value of religion.
The association between philosophy and religion does not just occur in some obscure corners of the blogosphere. On the contrary, it is manifest in the organization of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). The AAAS currently has close to 6,000 members (including almost a thousand foreign honorary members). They list their members according to area of specialization. It is very hard to determine how many members are professional philosophers, however, because they do not have their own section. Instead, they are listed under "Philosophy and Religious Studies." If you want to know how many professional philosophers are members of the AAAS, you cannot tell by looking at their list of members or their statistics. You have to go through the list of "Philosophy and Religious Studies" members and Google each one to find their area of expertise.
I wonder if Professor Chalmers is optimistic enough. Research can and should be done documenting the degree of progress and convergence that has occurred in philosophy. I think there might be more convergence than we commonly assume. When we look at the intellectual landscape without rigor or method, we might focus more on our particular interests, and these are generally defined by their opposition to competing views. We may thus tend to notice our differences more than our commonalities. This could create a bias in our perception, so that we fail to notice all the fundamental ways our philosophical thinking has converged. A rigorous, systematic study of developments in philosophy over the centuries could help fight such a bias and therefore be of great value. A comparative analysis of developments in Philosophy and Religious Studies would also be useful, to fight the tendency to conflate the two disciplines. Perhaps such research could help overcome the prejudices against philosophy and its practitioners.
Edit: It occurs to me that convergence may not be a necessary criterion for progress in philosophy. While a lack of convergence may warrant attention in its own right, I would question the assumption that convergence has anything to do with philosophical progress. Unlike in the physical sciences, whose various fields are united by shared methodologies, philosophy is methodologically opaque. You can be in a philosophical field without feeling clearly bound by all of the basic methodological principles shared by others in that field. It's not that philosophers don't share any methodological principles. They share many, and rigorously so. But many aren't shared, and those that are might be less determinate than those in the physical sciences.