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Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,06:46   

Is it just me, or does this Synthese business kinda cross with the fully blown Matzke/NCSE/BCSE controversy? Where can accomodationism lead us?

Wes, I'm raising this with due respect to your faith and beliefs, of course (which you have the grace not to flaunt except when really needed. I really appreciate this side of yourself :))

ETA: Typo

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4505
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,07:01   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,06:46)
Is it just me, or does this Synthese business kinda cross with the fully blown Matzke/NCSE/BCSE controversy? Where can accomodationism lead us?

Wes, I'm raising this with due respect to your faith and beliefs, of course (which you have the grace not to flaunt except when really needed. I really appreciate this side of yourself :))

ETA: Typo

I'm not sure that the Synthese flap has anything to do with accommodation. Even if one goes with the idea of IDC pressure as the motivation for the Editors-in-Chief to publish a disclaimer, that's a bit different from implying that accommodation in the sense deployed by Coyne and others is going on. There is no issue raised in the Synthese disclaimer affair about a formal description of whether religion and science are compatible in some sense or any assertion that they are. Could you explain how you see the connection?

Back in 2006, I debated DI Fellow Ray Bohlin at Southern Methodist University. I didn't mention anything about my stance on faith until the question period, when an obviously agitated student got up and accused me of being there simply to advance the atheist agenda. I said that was news to me, since I was a member of the United Methodist church. He sat down.

I think it was really needed at that point.

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"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,07:12   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 27 2011,13:01)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,06:46)
Is it just me, or does this Synthese business kinda cross with the fully blown Matzke/NCSE/BCSE controversy? Where can accomodationism lead us?

Wes, I'm raising this with due respect to your faith and beliefs, of course (which you have the grace not to flaunt except when really needed. I really appreciate this side of yourself :))

ETA: Typo

I'm not sure that the Synthese flap has anything to do with accommodation. Even if one goes with the idea of IDC pressure as the motivation for the Editors-in-Chief to publish a disclaimer, that's a bit different from implying that accommodation in the sense deployed by Coyne and others is going on. There is no issue raised in the Synthese disclaimer affair about a formal description of whether religion and science are compatible in some sense or any assertion that they are. Could you explain how you see the connection?

Back in 2006, I debated DI Fellow Ray Bohlin at Southern Methodist University. I didn't mention anything about my stance on faith until the question period, when an obviously agitated student got up and accused me of being there simply to advance the atheist agenda. I said that was news to me, since I was a member of the United Methodist church. He sat down.

I think it was really needed at that point.

Well, the way I see it, if there was indeed pressure from the IDC crowd and the Synthese editorial team bent to their demands, I will perceive it as accomodationism, and I'm quite positive some others will, although I'm only engaging my own views on the matter at hand. I think once a secular, scientific, or philosophical institution jumps through hoops to not obfuscate religious sensibilities, accomodationism is "en route".

Then again, maybe I'm a bit too extreme in my views. I don't know. To me, it seems that publishing the disclaimer is tantamount to saying "some of those papers are too harsh towards religious views", which shouldn't even appear in a seculare venture. Now, not being really familiar with Synthese, I might be wrong in assuming they are a secular venture. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

And again, your line-drawing between religious and scientific matters does you credit, and should be the way to go for both the NCSE and the BCSE. But that's another debate altogether...

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,07:29   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,07:12)
Well, the way I see it, if there was indeed pressure from the IDC crowd and the Synthese editorial team bent to their demands, I will perceive it as accomodationism, and I'm quite positive some others will, although I'm only engaging my own views on the matter at hand. I think once a secular, scientific, or philosophical institution jumps through hoops to not obfuscate religious sensibilities, accomodationism is "en route".

Part of the problem I see here, SD, is conflation between accommodating the demands of creationists (of any stripe) with accommodating the religious sensibilities of the vast majority of people in order to better convey to them the message of sound science and science education.  The two are not the same thing, but seem to be treated as such by certain noisy cohorts.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
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(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,08:20   

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 27 2011,13:29)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,07:12)
Well, the way I see it, if there was indeed pressure from the IDC crowd and the Synthese editorial team bent to their demands, I will perceive it as accomodationism, and I'm quite positive some others will, although I'm only engaging my own views on the matter at hand. I think once a secular, scientific, or philosophical institution jumps through hoops to not obfuscate religious sensibilities, accomodationism is "en route".

Part of the problem I see here, SD, is conflation between accommodating the demands of creationists (of any stripe) with accommodating the religious sensibilities of the vast majority of people in order to better convey to them the message of sound science and science education.  The two are not the same thing, but seem to be treated as such by certain noisy cohorts.

I wouldn't say these two views are being conflated. I would say that they are basically the same. NCSE and BCSE shouldn't publicly endorse theological views on science. They should focus on science, and most of all not allienate the "noisy cohorts" of die-hard atheists who are vocal on this subject. In fine, they should be silent on these issues. that's my opinion.

As for Synthese, what's the difference between Matzke accusing Dawkins of "ridiculously pulling the Nazi Card" towards the religious, and the editorial team implicitly accusing Dr Forrest of being too harsh to the religious (I know it's not specificaly implied, since they don't say which paper(s) is concerned by the disclaimer, but it seems everybody understands it's related to Dr Forrest's paper)?

Religious evolutionists? Good! Just don't compromise yourself by giving undue weight to their beliefs.

Butthurt creationists? Even better! Just don't compromise yourself by appologizing for justified attacks towards their beliefs.

Sorry for the disgression, back to topic...

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,08:58   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 27 2011,06:23)
Quote (Dr.GH @ April 26 2011,22:32)
I have been a bit thick witted today, and consequently did some useful plumbing, and gardening work. While clearing a drain, I had the inspiration that the solution to the Synthese fandango was obvious; the current editors should either resign, or be fired.

That taken care of, I think I'll go fishing tomorrow.

I'd settle for them to fix the mess with a retraction of the disclaimer and actually learn from the experience.

It doesn't look promising that way, though.

I suspect that what is going on here is not accommodationism, but an attempt to avoid any criticism, whereas now we see certain members of the ID crowd crowing about the so-called "retraction." The editors need to respond to that, as well as to explain themselves.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
carlsonjok



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Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,09:04   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,08:20)
     
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 27 2011,13:29)
 
Part of the problem I see here, SD, is conflation between accommodating the demands of creationists (of any stripe) with accommodating the religious sensibilities of the vast majority of people in order to better convey to them the message of sound science and science education.  The two are not the same thing, but seem to be treated as such by certain noisy cohorts.

I wouldn't say these two views are being conflated. I would say that they are basically the same.

I don't agree.  You don't treat the Presbyterian that lives next door, who isn't immersed in the controversy but has questions about it,  the same way you treat Casey Luskin.  Luskin deserves every bit of the derision directed at him.  Pull that with Bob at the neighborhood block party and you can be sure that he won't listen to another word you say, no matter how scientifically correct it is.

True story: I was once at a horse show with my wife and another couple.  A young lady arrived with her boyfriend in tow, and parked her trailer next to ours.  This was during football (real football, not that pansy shit they play in Yurrup) season, and the boyfriend was clearly not happy about being there and was generally rude to the young lady.  One of my friends went over and gave him the following advice:  Don't make her choose between you and her horses, because she isn't going to choose you.  I think that is advice that fits many situations.

For better or worse (YMMV), religion isn't going away.  If you wish to moot the influence of the creationists on science education, you need to bring religious believers into the pro-science camp.  You aren't going to do that by mocking their beliefs, no matter how worthy of mocking those beliefs may be.  To even get them to the place where they are open to information regarding sound science, they need to understand that they don't have to choose between science and their religion.  Their lives have been immersed in religion. Science was something they did for 45 minutes a day in school.  Ask them to choose one or the other, and I can pretty much guarantee you won't like their choice.

   
Quote
NCSE and BCSE shouldn't publicly endorse theological views on science.

To note the fact that certain Christian denominations are cool with evolution isn't the same as endorsing those particular sects.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,09:15   

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 27 2011,15:04)
 
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,08:20)
       
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 27 2011,13:29)
 
Part of the problem I see here, SD, is conflation between accommodating the demands of creationists (of any stripe) with accommodating the religious sensibilities of the vast majority of people in order to better convey to them the message of sound science and science education.  The two are not the same thing, but seem to be treated as such by certain noisy cohorts.

I wouldn't say these two views are being conflated. I would say that they are basically the same.

I don't agree.  You don't treat the Presbyterian that lives next door, who isn't immersed in the controversy but has questions about it,  the same way you treat Casey Luskin.  Luskin deserves every bit of the derision directed at him.  Pull that with Bob at the neighborhood block party and you can be sure that he won't listen to another word you say, no matter how scientifically correct it is.

True story: I was once at a horse show with my wife and another couple.  A young lady arrived with her boyfriend in tow, and parked her trailer next to ours.  This was during football (real football, not that pansy shit they play in Yurrup) season, and the boyfriend was clearly not happy about being there and was generally rude to the young lady.  One of my friends went over and gave him the following advice:  Don't make her choose between you and her horses, because she isn't going to choose you.  I think that is advice that fits many situations.

For better or worse (YMMV), religion isn't going away.  If you wish to moot the influence of the creationists on science education, you need to bring religious believers into the pro-science camp.  You aren't going to do that by mocking their beliefs, no matter how worthy of mocking those beliefs may be.  To even get them to the place where they are open to information regarding sound science, they need to understand that they don't have to choose between science and their religion.  Their lives have been immersed in religion. Science was something they did for 45 minutes a day in school.  Ask them to choose one or the other, and I can pretty much guarantee you won't like their choice.

       
Quote
NCSE and BCSE shouldn't publicly endorse theological views on science.

To note the fact that certain Christian denominations are cool with evolution isn't the same as endorsing those particular sects.

I never said the religious should be mocked (that would be utterly stupid and counter-productive). I just said their religious beliefs should not be encouraged or endorsed by organizations such as the NCSE or the BCSE. That's all, no more, no less. And these organizations shouldn't attack out-spoken atheists.

And the BCSE doesn't just note that "certain Christian nominations are cool with evolution". They actualy endorse these religious views.

From the BCSE site:

 
Quote
Properly understood, there is no conflict between religion and science…

Scientists will respect these beliefs of their religious colleagues, realizing they may very well provide those colleagues with the moral guidance which makes them better scientists

Religion properly provides the individual with the moral courage to act despite the possibility of failure.

Religion is responsible for humanity’s moral and spiritual guidance.


What do we make of that?

And again, it's a disgression on the main topic here. Sorry, it's my fault. Maybe we can take this somewhere else?

ETA: Linky

--------------
"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,10:34   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,09:15)

If this gets moved, please move this with the diversion - I've never seen this before (hadn't gone to the site yet):

Quote
Properly understood, there is no conflict between religion and science…

Ok, so I and many others are wrong.  We feel the same about you (Stanyard et al).  We'll bring our evidence, you bring yours.
Quote
Scientists will respect these beliefs of their religious colleagues, realizing they may very well provide those colleagues with the moral guidance which makes them better scientists

Wrong.  We criticize beliefs we consider misguided (ignorant, delusional, stupid, etc) all the time.  Do I have to respect my colleagues belief in homeopathy?  Why not?  Why the special exclusion?  That's what the debate is about.  I can respect the individual for other things, but if they hold a stupid belief, I have no requirement to respect that.  Period. Full stop.  Beyond that, the argument is a different one on tactics, which is situational anyway.
Quote
Religion properly provides the individual with the moral courage to act despite the possibility of failure.
and the moral courage to fly planes into buildings, or attack artists in their own homes with an axe, or kill them altogether, threaten them with fatwas, deprive millions of people with the right to marry or choose what to do with their own bodies or in their own homes...and many more.  A lot of other beliefs can provide the same things.  Irrelevant to if the belief is true or backed by reason and evidence.
Quote
Religion is responsible for humanity’s moral and spiritual guidance.
Bullshit.  Many things, including a long line of evolutionary development and civilization provide moral guidance.  Religion is not necessary for that.  As for "spiritual", since spiritual is a made up and useless word, the term is meaningless.  In this sense, spiritual guidance means following the religious beliefs, which is a...tautology?  Religion provides religious guidance?  I wonder what the BCSE says to those religions that do not find agreement between evolution and religion?  Aren't they saying the theological judgement that they are wrong, as the NCSE says?  Shouldn't they just not say that?

Sorry to add to the diversion.  Feel free to ignore this or move it to a separate thread with the other comments, please.

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"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
Kristine



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(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,16:25   

I agree with Schroedinger's Dog's stance on the NCSE, the BCSE, and religion, but here is why I do not believe that that issue ("accommodation"), and the issue of ID, are the same here:

Scientists who uphold the standards of research, the scientific method, transparency, and peer review, and follow the evidence wherever it leads, while maintaining certain religious/spiritual beliefs, are not going to get an argument from me on the science.

If they want to argue with me about religion, then it's a separate argument, a tennis match about philosophy that I do not want to bring into the area of research or teaching.

My being an atheist is the least important to and least interesting thing about me. For this and many other reasons, it is not a "religion," and I do not find my lack of belief as fascinating to talk about as religious believers find their beliefs to be.

However, anyone claiming to be a scientist who does not uphold the standards of research, the scientific method, transparency (as the editors-in-chief of Synthese did not), and peer review, and instead skew the evidence toward their foregone conclusion (namely, their certain religious/spiritual beliefs), are going to get a big-ass argument from me on their religion masquerading as science.

Once I was attracted to the idea that "the universe comes to know itself through us." I have put that away, but it did not affect my understanding of evolution. I am not saying that such beliefs without evidence never touch upon evidence; what I am saying is that, when we focus on teaching and communicating the science, we are on much more solid ground than when we quibble about "but you think that Zeus caused the Big Bang!"

I think people have a right to mock or parody whatever they want. I would be the first to laugh if anyone at UD ever came up with anything funny. DaveScot showed the most potential, unfortunately. But this does not belong in science class.

Scholarly publishing, academia, and advocates for science (such as the NCSE) should not be getting into the area of trying to convince people to accept evolution once it is taught. They should not go there. They are not the thought police; their job is to make sure that creationism is not taught. Let's focus on the science. I have not read Forrest's paper yet, but if the editors-in-chief thought her too strident, they should have acted like editors, or stood by what was accepted and said, "This is how scholarly publishing works."

I want to win this fight for science first. I get tired of quibbling about religion because frankly, it does not interest me.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Henry J



Posts: 4080
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(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,16:29   

Quote
I am not saying that such beliefs without evidence never touch upon evidence; what I am saying is that, when we focus on teaching and communicating the science, we are on much more solid ground than when we quibble about "but you think that Zeus caused the Big Bang!"

Oh, that wasn't Zeus, it was Thor - a side effect of throwing around that big hammer of his.

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,16:36   

Quote (Henry J @ April 27 2011,22:29)
Quote
I am not saying that such beliefs without evidence never touch upon evidence; what I am saying is that, when we focus on teaching and communicating the science, we are on much more solid ground than when we quibble about "but you think that Zeus caused the Big Bang!"

Oh, that wasn't Zeus, it was Thor - a side effect of throwing around that big hammer of his.

Went to the moving pictures today, have you?

--------------
"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2011,17:15   

Also, continuing with the disgression (we really have to open a new thred, methinks), here is an excellent short essai by Jerry Coyne about science and religion.

Seeing and believing

--------------
"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,05:59   

There is quite some disingenuous attitude over on the BCSE forum:

BCSE thread

It looks weird, the way the issues raised by Dannyo and others seem to be escaped by the BCSE participants. Up until that business, I didn't have a single bad thing to say about the N or B (which I had never heard of) CSEs, but now I'm starting to wonder. Plus, this whole mess will give extra ammo to the creos. Something that the organisations are actualy accusing New Atheists of doing...

But in a way, it is a fascinating issue.

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Hermagoras



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Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,06:54   

I'm sort of between carlsonjok and SD here.  I was with carlsonjok until SD quoted the BSCE on religion and moral guidance.  

The Synthese flap fits into accomodationism because the disclaimer is based on a fundamental misrecognition of Forrest's argument.  To wit: Forrest didn't associate Beckwith with IDC because she can't tell one religious view from another; she associated them because Beckwith's writings provide plenty of (admittedly slippery) grounds for doing so.

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"I am not currently proving that objective morality is true. I did that a long time ago and you missed it." -- StephenB

http://paralepsis.blogspot.com/....pot.com

   
Kristine



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(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,08:24   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 27 2011,17:15)
Also, continuing with the disgression (we really have to open a new thred, methinks), here is an excellent short essai by Jerry Coyne about science and religion.

Seeing and believing

What is a "die-hard Darwinist"?

Sorry to quibble, because this is a well-written piece. However, I would agree that uncompromising atheist language can and has driven potential accepters of evolution to the creationist corner. However, I see that as a consequence of the marketplace of ideas.

I have said this over and over: I think many more people than will admit it actually do accept evolution, but do not know how to fit it into their worldview and their moral precepts, which I do not insult. I cannot fault Miller for attempting this; he must follow his line of thinking because he is compelled to do so, as I am compelled to follow mine. I do think that "Darwinism" per se can explain the origin of ethics and values, inasmuch as those evolved, too.

The problem is, many believers seem to see evolution as a consequence of the Fall. Miller does not of course, but certain IDists have come close to saying this. Dembski seems to have rejected this idea in his theodicy piece.

Dawkins must also say what he has to say. He cannot not say it; Miller cannot not say it; if anything, it is the ID crowd who holds back and will not be honest. Even Rush Limbaugh (!;) recognized that, and Judge Jones certainly did. That is why Kitzmiller stung them so.

So let's put aside "accommodationism" and talk about honesty. Honesty unites "strident atheists" and "accommodationists" and theistic evolutionists. Dishonesty unites ID advocates with creationists.

Edited by Kristine on April 28 2011,09:22

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,09:30   

Follow-up article idea: "Creationists may be rational, but are they honest?" I realize that my musings have been leading me in this direction for some time.

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3573
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,12:40   

I don't understand why "accommodation" is an issue.

Evolution neither requires nor denies intervention. It is not possible to accommodate the concept that evolution requires intervention. Doing that would be dishonest.

But is is possible to accept people who believe intervention happens. One may think they are wrong, but it is not possible to prove them wrong.

The irreconcilable line is between those who think intervention is necessary and those who don't. the whole enterprise of science for the last several hundred years has been focused on demonstrating that things can be explained by regular processes.

One can rightfully say that everything is not (yet) explained, but if you deny in principle the adequacy of regular processes, you undercut the foundation of science.

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”let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Pat Robertson

  
Henry J



Posts: 4080
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,14:11   

Quote (Kristine @ April 28 2011,08:30)
Follow-up article idea: "Creationists may be rational, but are they honest?" I realize that my musings have been leading me in this direction for some time.

Honest ones don't go around repeating arguments that they've already seen refuted, so they're much less vocal, and don't get noticed.

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,14:15   

Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2011,18:40)
I don't understand why "accommodation" is an issue.

Evolution neither requires nor denies intervention. It is not possible to accommodate the concept that evolution requires intervention. Doing that would be dishonest.

But is is possible to accept people who believe intervention happens. One may think they are wrong, but it is not possible to prove them wrong.

The irreconcilable line is between those who think intervention is necessary and those who don't. the whole enterprise of science for the last several hundred years has been focused on demonstrating that things can be explained by regular processes.

One can rightfully say that everything is not (yet) explained, but if you deny in principle the adequacy of regular processes, you undercut the foundation of science.

I think you are going a bit too deep in there. The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
OgreMkV



Posts: 3322
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,14:32   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2011,18:40)
I don't understand why "accommodation" is an issue.

Evolution neither requires nor denies intervention. It is not possible to accommodate the concept that evolution requires intervention. Doing that would be dishonest.

But is is possible to accept people who believe intervention happens. One may think they are wrong, but it is not possible to prove them wrong.

The irreconcilable line is between those who think intervention is necessary and those who don't. the whole enterprise of science for the last several hundred years has been focused on demonstrating that things can be explained by regular processes.

One can rightfully say that everything is not (yet) explained, but if you deny in principle the adequacy of regular processes, you undercut the foundation of science.

I think you are going a bit too deep in there. The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

By going the route that they did, those two organizations alienated many of their supporters.

If they had continued on without the 'accomodations', then all scientists could have unequivably supported them.  Now, some scientists cannot support them because of the explicit religious statements.

It's that simple.  Since the organizations' missions are to promote the teaching of good science, then they have over-stepped their bounds.  Religion has nothing to do with science or science education.  By including religion, they have made a huge step backwards from their mission and their goals.

That being said, I sometimes don't agree with militant atheists.  If one pushes too hard, too fast, one ends up looking like a un-thinking knee-jerk reactionary blowhard (coughPZcough).

One should not accomodate wrong information.  One should not delve into areas one's mission doesn't address.  One should carefully consider statements made for truth, accuracy, and supportability.

Both sides have these exact same issues (see PZs rant on the Republican thing from this date... I don't have all the data, but I agree with the sentitment, but disagree with the actions).  

Wandering... will shut up now...

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carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,15:36   

Quote (OgreMkV @ April 28 2011,14:32)
By going the route that they did, those two organizations alienated many of their supporters.

I think you have gone off the rails right at this point here by confusing supporters of the NCSE with consumers of the services that the NCSE provides.  The consumers are school boards, parent and students.  Many of them are religious and all have to deal with the religious.  

   
Quote
If they had continued on without the 'accomodations', then all scientists could have unequivably supported them.

[snip]

It's that simple.  Since the organizations' missions are to promote the teaching of good science, then they have over-stepped their bounds.  Religion has nothing to do with science or science education.  By including religion, they have made a huge step backwards from their mission and their goals.


The first sentence is unsupported and demonstrably false.  The fact is that the folks at the NCSE who made this decision are themselves scientists.  Further, one of the themes of Ken Miller's writings on the subject is that believers can accept modern science. The various anti-evolutionists set up the (false, IMO) equivalence that one must choose between modern biology or your religion.  The more strident atheists, like PZ and Jerry Coyne, will stand up and will agree that people must choose between religion or science. If the NCSE remains silent on the matter, as you would suggest they do, they cede the discussion to the two poles, who both insist people must choose. Remaining silent makes the whole discussion simpler, to be sure, but it also makes it a loser.  Forcing such a  choice will not solve the problem of religiously motivated interference in science education. It will exacerbate it.  When faced with a conflict you will surely lose, the rational choice is to not play to your opponents strength.

To return to the part I snipped above:
   
Quote
Now, some scientists cannot support them because of the explicit religious statements.


Organizations exist to perform their mission. In the NCSE case that mission is to promote science education and, I agre with them that means noting that people can accept evolution without giving up their most precious beliefs.  If you want an organization that exists to solely do the bidding of their most strident supporters, there are plenty of them out there. They're called churches.

Related Note: I do find the BCSE statement quoted by SD to be problematic, though I consider it more intended as a statement to flatter the religious and not nesessarily a truth statement.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
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(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,15:41   

Quote
Related Note: I do find the BCSE statement quoted by SD to be problematic, though I consider it more intended as a statement to flatter the religious and not nesessarily a truth statement.


Then we have a problem right here...

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
OgreMkV



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(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,15:49   

That statement by the BSCE was what I was mainly commenting on.  

I think we both said the same thing.  

Every scientist can agree on the science.  Science, as a discipline, makes no comment on religion except (as Kristine noted) that many 'relgious concepts' seem to have evolutionary bases (morality, ethics).

Yes, I wish people were rational.  I understand that they are not.

I don't know, maybe it's a no win for anyone.  10-20 years ago all we really had were the creationists.  Now, we have the militant atheists and, as shown, they are almost as bad as the creationists in terms of knee-jerk reactions and animosity.

That's why I would prefer that these groups stick to the science.  That's demonstrable.

When they start even talking about religion, they are going to piss off a lot of people that might not have been POed before.  

That's all I'm saying.  

Should they all stay quiet?  Of course not.  If a principle or something is balking at teaching evolution (hey, I've been there), then find out why.  If it's religion based, then there are all these resources that show religion and science can be compatible.

But I still think it's a mistake for a secular science education advocacy group to promote religion or any Religion.  It's not their job.  Resources (clergy letter project, statements from the various faiths) that's all good.  But an explicit statement supporting a religious interpretation... I totally disagree with that (and not just because of my personal atheism).  That might end up being the one time, creationists use the first amendment "See, evolution is religious".

wandering again... so very tired...

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carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
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(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,15:50   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,15:41)
Quote
Related Note: I do find the BCSE statement quoted by SD to be problematic, though I consider it more intended as a statement to flatter the religious and not nesessarily a truth statement.


Then we have a problem right here...

I prefer to think of it as finding common ground in hating the British.

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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Wolfhound



Posts: 468
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,15:56   

Just pulling a Kwok here, but seriously, I concur wholehearted with SD on this.  He conveyed my exact opinion on this issue and I think he is a fucking sexy beast even if he is French and smells like dirty feet/cheese.

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I've found my personality to be an effective form of birth control.

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,15:58   

Quote (carlsonjok @ April 28 2011,21:50)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,15:41)
Quote
Related Note: I do find the BCSE statement quoted by SD to be problematic, though I consider it more intended as a statement to flatter the religious and not nesessarily a truth statement.


Then we have a problem right here...

I prefer to think of it as finding common ground in hating the British.

Turkey or dandellion would be enough to hate the brit! Hell, even cartwheel would do!

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Schroedinger's Dog



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Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,16:05   

woolfie: Don't tease ;)

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
MichaelJ



Posts: 455
Joined: June 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,17:58   

I think that for them to say that many people find science and religion compatible is a truth statement and PZ and Co have said that they have no problem NCSE/BCSE saying this and even pointing to some very notable examples.

The problem is when they say that they ARE compatible because this is an opinion and a lot of people don't share this opinion.

For some reason the accommodationists have missed and keep missing this very simple point

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3573
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,18:06   

Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

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”let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”

Pat Robertson

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4244
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,18:27   

My thoughts on topics in this neighborhood, posted here a few years ago:

In contemplating the recent shouting match between "evangelical" and "Neville Chamberlain" atheists that has raged across the blogosphere, I wonder if an element of humility is not in order.

From where I sit, the most crucial drivers behind questions of religious belief pertain not to origins, but rather to the severe human dilemma presented by the inevitability of one’s personal death. Although I happen to believe that oblivion will follow my own death, and indeed all deaths, I would be lying if I denied sometimes bolting upright in the middle of the night with the full realization of that reality, accompanied by a very cold fear. Although this quickly passes, and indeed I cannot reproduce this feeling at will (psychological denial and intellectualization quickly reassert themselves, I suppose), it seems clear that this is really the central human dilemma.

In view of that, I have enormous sympathy for those who cope with the specter of death by, in essence, denying its reality and positing an afterlife. In particular, having children and finding myself unable to even contemplate loosing one of them, I cannot fault those who have responded to such an unbearable grief by resorting to the comforting notion that death is not real. Probably one of the most severe costs that accompany what I perhaps vainly fancy to be my intellectual honesty is that such comforts will not be available to me should I be faced with a similar losses. Part of me is sympathetic to whatever cover an individual wishes to take in the face of those realities.

A second point vis humility pertains more directly to questions of science and religion. I recall reading – I think that it was in Timothy Ferris’ “The Whole Shebang” - a description of some of the implications of inflationary models of the origins of the universe. Ferris invited the reader to imagine the observable universe – that volume of the universe from which light (and hence any causation) will have had time to travel since the big bang - as a sphere with a radius of 13.9 billion light years. Ferris asserted that, if inflationary models prove correct, that volume stands in proportion to the actual volume of the universe as the area of a silver dollar stands in relation to the area of the surface of the earth (I hope I am properly recalling this – I don’t have a copy handy). That, frankly, blows my mind. Undoubtedly, even if this proves to be inaccurate, the realities that do emerge from cosmology will be equally mind-blowing.

My personal response to facts like these is one of awe and humility. Although we have mathematics based upon powers of ten with which to calculate on such scales, I find that it is not really even remotely possible to directly imagine the reality that such facts denote. Speaking for myself, I feel my level of comprehension of such things stands in relation to these facts much as an ocean going larva stands in relation to the Pacific ocean itself. Indeed, the universe being disclosed by contemporary science (and here I most emphatically include evolutionary biology) is so vastly larger and richer than any pre-modern view of any deity that I would argue that the concept of “God” is best properly viewed as an historical placeholder for these larger, vastly more rich realities, a placeholder that we could only just now have discarded. If some people are not quite ready for that, I understand completely.

What we don’t find in this contemporary view, however, is a larger agency that resembles human agency, nor refuge from death. That’s the tradeoff. I am an atheist in that sense: I don’t believe in life after death, and I don’t believe that something resembling the human capacity for intentionality and design underlies this particular shebang. I am sympathetic to those who believe that it does, but happen to believe that they are mistaken. I wouldn’t presume to steal that belief from them, however.

All that said, the battle over science classrooms at the K-12 level is over for now, and it had the right outcome. The battle was won at Doverloo. That was my primary concern.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
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Richardthughes



Posts: 10236
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(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,18:39   



--------------
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"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
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MichaelJ



Posts: 455
Joined: June 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,19:14   

Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

  
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,19:19   

Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2011,18:06)
       
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

I have been as abrasive as he has been, I will admit - but guess who just had a run-in with a street preacher's partner? :) When Yours Truly griped that this kid has been shrieking on the mall for three days (and no kidding, I could hear him two blocks away), his partner replied, "Well he has to keep preaching, because there's at least one unsaved soul on this street!" and pointed at me!  :p

Such tolerance and respect. Anyway -

Since I last posted, I have seen the honesty issue come up in several articles, including a post by PZ. I don't mean to imply that all creationists are dishonest, but isn't intellectual honesty - in terms of transparency, resisting logical fallacies, and not using disproven canards - the real weapon to use, rather than niceness? Scientists are not necessarily nice to each other, after all - and as the daughter of a church secretary I can tell you that believers many times are not!

People don't like facts that contradict their beliefs - this is universal (I don't like them, either!;) - but I do think that people respect those who say something and mean it. Dembski himself has admitted that he admires "strong atheists" more than the sweetness people. Maybe that is the most we can hope for, but I do not think that advocates of science should start down the path of saying this to this audience, and that to that audience, as IDists do, simply in order to win converts.

As Recip Bill says, people are terrified of death - let's talk about that then, and how creationism establishes a template by which one can, if one believes Christian theology, inherit eternal life. Well and good - I'd love to live forever, and I don't always believe atheists when they say that they don't need anything more than the universe. Come on. Being discontent, and fearing death, are natural consequences of consciousness, not just religion.

Of course I honestly cannot say that I "know" that death is oblivion, but I have told believers this: if there is an afterlife, it will, like evolution, happen whether we believe in it or not. But if this afterlife is only granted to me because I love the right god in the right way, well, I am sorry - I cannot "love" any deity that I fear. Threats can scare me, but they only make me resentful. I don't agree with Coyne that if a 900-foot Jesus appeared tomorrow that I would drop to my knees with hosannas. Even if God created me he does not live my life, and has no right, once I exist, to command my heart and my love. No one can do that.

I think this hanging on to some primitive image of He-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed has consequences for our democracy. Religious or not, such black-and-white thinking and appeal to authority is incompatible with, say, an election. Being that creationism seems to be a particularly (but not exclusively) American foible, I find this most troubling. This goes even beyond science education, or atheism, for me, and right to the question of how we are to live.

Ken Miller (or was it Michael Shermer?) in one of his books describes a scene that has haunted me since I read it. He (Ken or Michael) debated a creationist and then ate dinner with him, and asked the creationist, point blank, how he could possibly say the things that he had argued that night. Ken/Michael expected a smile and a wink, but got a pained look, and the assertion that "Though we don't have the evidence for creation today, we will have it someday." Such utopianist thinking is revealing, and it explains much, and it does touch me. I did feel sorrow for this creationist who was so honest, finally, in saying that there was no evidence and that he was horrified by this fact. I remember reading about the development of the solar system and being horrified, too, that it did not mirror Genesis! (I was really, really young.)

I do get concerned by Dawkins' "evolution is wonderful, life without God is wonderful" talk. Eeverything has a dark side, and evolution certainly does (Booby chicks pushed out of nests, penguins going crazy and running to certain death, Trilobites going extinct, etc.). Therefore, I don't know how to be nice about evolution. I don't know how to make it palatable to even atheists, let alone believers, when it makes me cringe at time. All I know is that people tend to be more impressed by those who unequivocally state their convictions, even if they disagree, than by those who window-dress and chew the audience's meat for them. It is the latter that I see the NCSE doing, and I think it is a mistake.

On teaching evolution in schools, atheists and believers should stand united. On religion, let us all be honest. I think that the debate as to how a believer can reconcile science and religion may, handled correctly, pull in more believers toward theistic evolutionism.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
khan



Posts: 1483
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,19:54   

Quote (MichaelJ @ April 28 2011,20:14)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

I speak for no one but myself.

I favor abrasive.

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

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"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3322
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,20:13   

Abrasive is fine.  In the proper place.  Abrasive all the time is just being a jerk.

Besides, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Some flies you will never catch, be abrasive all you want.

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Sealawr



Posts: 54
Joined: Feb. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,20:30   

Born, raised still consider myself catholic though slouching towards atheism.

Good science is good science.  That's all I care about.  That's all I want my kids taught in science class.  I don't care about the tone of those who object to creationism and all its pomp and circumstances.  I'll stand next to PZ and say "go get'em!"

I'll talke no personal offense at any "militant" "strident" or any other kind of atheist for two reasons.  First, they could be right.  Second, a lot of my co-religionists talk out of their asses and have no idea what they are talking about and deserve to be mocked and ridiculed.

I personally think that scicence and religion are not 100% compatible.  But there are degrees of incompatibility.   YEC is a load of crap and is comepltely incompatible.  Soft theisic evolutionists who accept evolution and somehow have done internal gymnastics to reconcile that with religion are a lot less incompatible.  A few kind and understanding words in their direction like so:

 
Quote
On teaching evolution in schools, atheists and believers should stand united. On religion, let us all be honest. I think that the debate as to how a believer can reconcile science and religion may, handled correctly, pull in more believers toward theistic evolutionism.


and this

 
Quote
I have enormous sympathy for those who cope with the specter of death by, in essence, denying its reality and positing an afterlife.


may swell the ranks of the agnostics.  There's no compromise or any suggestion of accomodation in either quoted statemment.  Just a firm statement of atheism and a bit of empathy.

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DS: "The explantory filter is as robust as the data that is used with it."
David Klinghoffer: ""I'm an IDiot"

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,20:48   

Quote (khan @ April 28 2011,20:54)
Quote (MichaelJ @ April 28 2011,20:14)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
 
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

I speak for no one but myself.

I favor abrasive.

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

and that's why I love you!

ps i fully expected you to reply to crazy old cat ladies lol

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You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,20:49   

Quote (khan @ April 28 2011,19:54)
Quote (MichaelJ @ April 28 2011,20:14)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
 
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

I speak for no one but myself.

I favor abrasive.

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

Psst - also female and childfree...

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,21:00   

I remember reading a story about the Union General Philip Sheridan meeting with some Indian chiefs some time after the Civil War was over.  One of them introduced himself saying, "Me only good Injun is a dead Injun".  I get the feeling that the Gnu Model Atheists are Sheridanites in that they believe the only good religion is a dead religion.Toch-a-way, me good Indian".  Sheridan somewhat ungraciously replied "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead".  This became corrupted over time into the better-known form of "The

I have no problem with atheists exposing the absurdities of religious beliefs or excoriating the hypocrisy of those who proclaim a faith but apparently believe they are exempt from living up to its highest ideals or attacking the shoddy political machinations and scary ambitions of the more extreme right-wing elements of the religious community.  But when you have someone like PZ calling into question the integrity of an eminent fellow scientist like Martin Rees simply because he accepted a Templeton Prize then we are moving towards McCarthyite territory.

It's the same with these demands that the NCSE be neutral.  How do you measure neutrality?  What are you going to do to ensure the neutrality of NCSE staff, summon them to appear before hearings to find out where their true sympathies lie?

"Answer the question!  Have you at any time knowingly sat in the same room as a person of faith?"

'I may have."

"Accommodationist!!"

More seriously, I can only endorse what both Reciprocating Bill and Kristine have written.  As far as I am concerned we are a bunch of clever apes that got lucky.  We live on a flyspeck of a planet adrift in a largely hostile universe of unimaginable vastness.  One half-way decent comet or asteroid or maybe a wandering black hole and it will be as if we never existed.  The universe will continue for who knows how many years but unobserved and uncounted by us.  Faced with that appallingly bleak prospect it's small wonder some people turn and cling to religion.  Yes, I think that on balance they are wrong but the fact is we are all stuck in the same boat so we should do the best we can to get along with each other.

  
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,21:07   

What on Earth happened to that first paragraph?

Sorry, that should have read:

"I remember reading a story about the Union General Philip Sheridan meeting with some Indian chiefs some time after the Civil War was over.  One of them introduced himself saying, "Me Toch-a-way, me good Indian".  Sheridan somewhat ungraciously replied "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead".  This became corrupted over time into the better-known form of "The only good Injun is a dead Injun". I get the feeling that the Gnu Model Atheists are Sheridanites in that they believe the only good religion is a dead religion."

  
Wolfhound



Posts: 468
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,21:33   

Quote (Kristine @ April 28 2011,21:49)
Quote (khan @ April 28 2011,19:54)
Quote (MichaelJ @ April 28 2011,20:14)
 
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
 
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

I speak for no one but myself.

I favor abrasive.

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

Psst - also female and childfree...

Make that three of us!

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I've found my personality to be an effective form of birth control.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10236
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,21:47   

Quote (Wolfhound @ April 28 2011,21:33)
Quote (Kristine @ April 28 2011,21:49)
 
Quote (khan @ April 28 2011,19:54)
 
Quote (MichaelJ @ April 28 2011,20:14)
   
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
   
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

I speak for no one but myself.

I favor abrasive.

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

Psst - also female and childfree...

Make that three of us!

4 If you count Carlson on the weekends..



Edited by Lou FCD on April 29 2011,17:24

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
noncarborundum



Posts: 320
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2011,21:49   

Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2011,18:06)
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

And yet as far as I can tell Dawkins gets called "militant" and "abrasive" nearly as often as Myers does.  This has to tell us something.

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"The . . . um . . . okay, I was genetically selected for blue eyes.  I know there are brown eyes, because I've observed them, but I can't do it.  Okay?  So . . . um . . . coz that's real genetic selection, not the nonsense Giberson and the others are talking about." - DO'L

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1691
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,07:48   

Sorry for not participating today, but I have the most shocking hangover.

I'll get back to those great posts when I'm better/dead...


ETA: The whole mess is getting better and better...

ETAA: The website linked above is full of lulz!

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"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,07:55   

Quote (noncarborundum @ April 28 2011,21:49)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2011,18:06)
 
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

And yet as far as I can tell Dawkins gets called "militant" and "abrasive" nearly as often as Myers does.  This has to tell us something.

They're creating the right impression - at least from their point of view?

  
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,08:06   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3322
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,08:48   

Quote (Seversky @ April 29 2011,08:06)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

I think that's kind of the point of the whole discussion.

PZ et. al. may be demanding 'YES!' while the CSEs and others are saying 'NO!'

The middle is probably the best ground in terms of being reasonable, but it's also the place most likely to get one run over in the coming conflict.

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Wolfhound



Posts: 468
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,09:37   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 28 2011,22:47)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 28 2011,21:33)
Quote (Kristine @ April 28 2011,21:49)
 
Quote (khan @ April 28 2011,19:54)
 
Quote (MichaelJ @ April 28 2011,20:14)
   
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 29 2011,09:06)
   
Quote
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?


Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

As I wrote in another thread, I think that for some kinds of people abrasive works.

I speak for no one but myself.

I favor abrasive.

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

Psst - also female and childfree...

Make that three of us!

4 If you count Carlson on the weekends..

POTW!!

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I've found my personality to be an effective form of birth control.

  
carlsonjok



Posts: 3324
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,09:55   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 28 2011,21:47)
Quote (Wolfhound @ April 28 2011,21:33)
 
Quote (Kristine @ April 28 2011,21:49)
 
Quote (khan @ April 28 2011,19:54)

But then I am female & childfree along with godless...

Psst - also female and childfree...

Make that three of us!

4 If you count Carlson on the weekends..



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It's natural to be curious about our world, but the scientific method is just one theory about how to best understand it.  We live in a democracy, which means we should treat every theory equally. - Steven Colbert, I Am America (and So Can You!)

  
Badger3k



Posts: 861
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,11:06   

Quote (OgreMkV @ April 29 2011,08:48)
Quote (Seversky @ April 29 2011,08:06)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

I think that's kind of the point of the whole discussion.

PZ et. al. may be demanding 'YES!' while the CSEs and others are saying 'NO!'

The middle is probably the best ground in terms of being reasonable, but it's also the place most likely to get one run over in the coming conflict.

That's not the point at all.  

The science organizations should not be telling anyone what theology is correct or incorrect.  All they need to do, as someone suggested here, I think - there's been so much said recently, is say "many religious people have no conflict between evolution and their faith".  That's it.  Don't do like both organizations and say "This particular interpretation of your beliefs is the correct one since it allows you to believe both your religion and evolution."  Maybe they are trying to be helpful, but they are specifically promoting one sect over another (and even one particular religion over others since they leave out quite a few religions from their statements).  

Adding in extra bits, like that tripe from the BCSE, is completely unnecessary.  When asked about such an issue by my students (which is extremely rare, oddly enough for Texas), I tell them that some people believe this, some believe that, look into the issue, look at the evidence, listen to the arguments, and use critical thinking to make up your own mind.  In trying to persuade religious believers to their rather limited cause, they are taking sides in the theology dispute.   What's worse is if the person saying this doesn't believe it themselves.  A bit hypocritical, don't you think:  "Well, I don't buy this at all, but since you do, I'll tell you this to help you keep your beliefs, just support me on this one issue."

Why not encourage them to think critically in the first place instead?  Why not help them change the tire instead of throwing a leaky patch on it?  Expediency?  The first is too hard and has no guarantee that it won't hold?  That they might attack you for trying to change the tire?

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"Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.." : Joe G

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3322
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,11:11   

Aren't we all just a big tent?





I honestly don't know if that was a Poe or not...

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,11:21   

In the midst of all this, I have gotten back into writing fiction (because it's been so lucrative for me, right? Blarg). ;)

It involves (making a long story short) some of our ancestors not going extinct but evolving along a parallel path with us, developing many of our abilities in communication and civilization, but aware of us while we are not aware of them. (Actually, Homo habilis splits into at least two different species, one developing as mentioned above, and the other continuing on their nomadic, semi-verbal way.) So we have the further development of Homo habilis and Homo erectus and Australopithecus afarensis running around.

They are different species, have different physical characteristics and cultures and values, and are aware of their evolution, and of the fact that we think that we are the sole human species left - and that some of us deny our evolution and thus their humanity.

The meet-up with humans, particularly creationist humans, is a part of the novel that I have not written yet. But in creating a pretend world in which different species of humans have to cooperate is the step that I have chosen to take in addressing the concerns of believers reconciling evolution and religion. Making people care about characters, and giving voices to our ancestors, rather than quibbling about how someone can accept common descent while still taking communion, is what I have decided that I can try to do.

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Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,16:16   

Quote (OgreMkV @ April 28 2011,21:13)
Besides, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

You catch more flies with shit than with honey.

Just sayin'.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Lou FCD



Posts: 5378
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2011,16:38   

Quote (OgreMkV @ April 29 2011,09:48)
     
Quote (Seversky @ April 29 2011,08:06)
     
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

I think that's kind of the point of the whole discussion.

PZ et. al. may be demanding 'YES!' [snip]

um, yeah...stop there a moment, please.

Nobody, but nobody is arguing this at all.

This is what's being said by many Gnus:

 
Quote (Badger3k @ April 29 2011,12:06)
That's not the point at all.  

The science organizations should not be telling anyone what theology is correct or incorrect.  All they need to do, as someone suggested here, I think - there's been so much said recently, is say "many religious people have no conflict between evolution and their faith".  That's it.  


and the rest are suggesting that all the CSEs should say about religion is this:

Quote (NCSE and BCSE @ about religion,ever)




--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2011,19:57   

Quote (Lou FCD @ April 29 2011,16:38)
     
Quote (OgreMkV @ April 29 2011,09:48)
           
Quote (Seversky @ April 29 2011,08:06)
             
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

I think that's kind of the point of the whole discussion.

PZ et. al. may be demanding 'YES!' [snip]

um, yeah...stop there a moment, please.

Nobody, but nobody is arguing this at all.

This is what's being said by many Gnus:

       
Quote (Badger3k @ April 29 2011,12:06)
That's not the point at all.  

The science organizations should not be telling anyone what theology is correct or incorrect.  All they need to do, as someone suggested here, I think - there's been so much said recently, is say "many religious people have no conflict between evolution and their faith".  That's it.  


and the rest are suggesting that all the CSEs should say about religion is this:

       
Quote (NCSE and BCSE @ about religion,ever)



The role of the NCSE is to promote accurate science education and defend its integrity from religious interests that would, in effect, 'bowdlerize' it into a form that would be theologically inoffensive.  To expect such a group to say absolutely nothing about religion in the circumstances is, I submit, simply unrealistic.  

Back on March 9 2010 on Sandwalk Larry Moran quoted the following passage from an article on the NCSE website by Peter Hess:

     
Quote
Of course, religious claims that are empirically testable can come into conflict with scientific theories. For instance, young-earth creationists argue that the universe was created several thousand years ago, that all the lineages of living creatures on Earth were created in their present form (at least up to the poorly-defined level of "kind") shortly thereafter, and that these claims are supported by empirical evidence, such as the fossil record and observed stellar physics. These fact claims are clearly contradicted by mainstream paleontology, cosmology, geology and biogeography. However, the theological aspect of young-earth creationism—the assertions about the nature of God, and the reasons why that God created the universe and permitted it to develop in a particular way—cannot be addressed by science. By their nature, such claims can only be—and have been—addressed by philosophers and theologians.

The science of evolution does not make claims about God's existence or non-existence, any more than do other scientific theories such as gravitation, atomic structure, or plate tectonics. Just like gravity, the theory of evolution is compatible with theism, atheism, and agnosticism. Can someone accept evolution as the most compelling explanation for biological diversity, and also accept the idea that God works through evolution? Many religious people do.


Moran commented that this passage displayed "all the earmarks of an accommondationist position" as far as he was concerned whereas for me it reads as an unexceptionable summary of the actual relationship between science and religion.

There is no direct conflict between science in general and religion in general as far as I am concerned.  All science can say is that it has found no evidence for the existence of any of the many different gods in which people have believed and, in some cases, still believe and that, following Laplace, it has found no need to invoke them as an explanation.  But where a particular faith makes specific claims about the nature of some part of the universe then, as Hess points out quite correctly, these can be points of direct conflict if scientific investigations have led to a different understanding.  In those circumstances science is bound to present its alternative explanation and explain why it has come to that conclusion.

However, science being a method of investigating what is means that there is nothing it can say about what isn't - other than to qualify it by commenting that it isn't so far - or about what people think about the way things ought to be.  Such matters simply lie outside its field of inquiry and I see nothing accommodationist about saying that nor is there any reason why the NCSE should not point it out.

What belongs in the science classroom is science in the sense both of the methodology employed and the body of evidence and enduring - albeit always provisional - explanations founded on that evidence which have been accumulated over the years by applying that methodology.  Religious and other claims which do not meet that standard may certainly be discussed elsewhere - they may even be discussed in the science class - but they should not be taught as science.  Again I see no reason why the NCSE should not point that out.

If the epithet "accommodationism" is meant in the pejorative sense of treating religious beliefs and those who hold them with undue sympathy and excessive deference then I would not agree with it either.  But I do not see that in what the NCSE has written and done.  If, on the other hand, it is meant in the sense of accepting, while not necessarily agreeing with, those beliefs which cannot be contradicted and treating believers with the common courtesy which is their due, unless they have acted is such a way as to forfeit it, then I would accept it as an unexceptionable label for what I believe to be the case and no more than a civilized way to behave.

  
Kristine



Posts: 3046
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: May 01 2011,13:50   

But if people at the NCSE are going to blame atheists for turning off potential acceptors of evolution with our dissection of "reconciliation" (done in other contexts than in science class and curricula), what are they going to do when more and more fundamentalist believers point out that moderate believers who accept the scientific consensus on evolution are "cozying up" to we strident atheists?

Case in point: remember the FTK thread, when I mentioned Ken Miller and his book Finding Darwin's God? FTK responded, "Yes, I can see why atheists would like Ken Miller." And he has also blamed this war on strident atheists! Whereas I will always be grateful for his testimony at Dover. Yet he got lumped in with me the minute that I mentioned him.

Well, there is nothing that I can do then, is there? There is a huge segment of the American population who will never entertain the possibility of evolution unless, and until, outspoken atheists reject evolution outright.

I am not kidding: That is what science is up against, at least in the United States! The spectre of the atheist is raised in many churches - it was even in my liberal Lutheran church - without one atheist saying anything. When at age fourteen or so, when I learned the term atheist I had to ask what it meant - and then I realized that was what I was. So, what am I supposed to do, when any association with me can taint a believing scientist?

--------------
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?

AtBC Poet Laureate

"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive

"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr

  
Seversky



Posts: 415
Joined: June 2010

(Permalink) Posted: May 01 2011,18:15   

But if a large part of the problem is that evolution is too closely associated with atheism does it make sense to leave the field of debate just to those atheists who imply or openly promote that view?

I'm not disputing the fact that atheism is viewed as somewhat worse than pedophilia by a significant part of the US population.  I agree that they will not accept evolution under any circumstances while it is perceived as an atheist theory.   But I see two issues here.

The first is the need to raise the profile and change the public perception of atheism.  Here is where I think the New Atheists have done excellent work.  Just as the black and gay communities needed voices that asserted loudly and confidently that they were every bit as good their white and straight fellows so atheists needed spokespersons who could do the same for them.  They needed public figures who could articulate their feelings better then they could themselves and around which they could rally.

The second issue is whether the anti-evolutionists are quite the monolithic bloc they appear to be.  I suspect that, like any other large group of people, they are a mixture, ranging from hardcore to softer edges.  If that is true then, as has been pointed out before, this is where perceived New Atheist stridency can work against them.  As has been observed many times before, groups coming under pressure from outside will tend to suspend any internal disputes and unite in face of the external threat.  

More specifically, if believers as a group feel that atheists are out to destroy their faiths then they will tend to put aside any theological differences and set their faces against any kind of accommodation with the common enemy.  If, on the other hand, they can see that it is possible to hold religious beliefs and still do perfectly good science, even in biology, then so much the better.  If it can also be explained that the theory of evolution actually says nothing about the existence of God or faith in same then that makes it less of a threat and a few might be more inclined to listen.

I doubt that anyone expects the anti-evolution bloc to undergo some sort of sudden, dramatic collapse like the old Soviet Union, neither from New Atheist frontal assault nor from accommodationist diplomacy but I think the latter has a better chance of slowly eroding the unthinking hostility towards evolution of believers.

  
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