Friday, May 27, 2011

 

WTF?


Over at Jerry Coyne's home for the philosophically disadvantaged we are being treated to yet another example of the incredibly slippery definition of "accommodationism" deployed by "Gnu Atheists."

Now, supposedly:

The accommodationist strategy of recent years advocates that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists.
Hey! I was there! The whole "accomodationist" flap started with the National Academy of Sciences' booklet, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, and its treatment of the compatibility of science and religion. Nothing in the NAS's booklet in any way suggested that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists.

Now, to be sure, the animosity of certain camps of atheists has moved on since then. But can we, at least, send up a flare or something when the "definition" is gonna change radically once again?

The study reported on is interesting and I'll try to absorb it and comment later. Meanwhile, you might want to go to John Wilkin's blog for an antidote to illiteracy of the philosophical sort.
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Comments:
In comments over at the Intersection, I noticed how "new atheism" has somehow started to become a euphemism for "open atheism," as opposed the the "Exclusivist atheism" so named by Wilkins.
I don't have a problem with open atheism, but I would hate see the positions of exclusivists getting tossed down the memory hole.
 
I notice however that you don't actually comment about Mooney's quote
That means people in their community, pastors, scientists who are religious, people who are closer to them and can speak a bit more of their language and may be able to move them.
which seems to be pretty clear what an accomodationist thinks needs to be done.

Second where do you see this as a definition of accomodationism? We see this as a strategy being pursued by accomodationists. Though I would think that accomodationists usually follow atleast one of
a. Science and religion(done right) deal with different topics
b. Science and religion are compatible if you interpret your religion in a non literal way and ignore all the stuff that doesnt make sense.
c. evolution is true and so long as God does all the stuff that we could never detect thats fine too.

or maybe we could just have accomodationists invite Dawkins or Coyne to talk about evolution thereby disproving Sigmund's claim. The proof of the pudding is in the eating after all.
 
That means people in their community, pastors, scientists who are religious, people who are closer to them and can speak a bit more of their language and may be able to move them.

which seems to be pretty clear what an accomodationist thinks needs to be done.


Yes. So what's the problem? I'm pretty sure even hardliners like Dawkins and Myers don't think you should be telling believers on every conceivable occasion that they are idiots and child abusers for believing what they do and telling their children about it. Is that a touch of accommodationism I see before me? Of course, that doesn't prevent them reveling in their reputations as uncompromising atheists.
 
Deepak, Acommodationism can be summed up in one sentence:

Evolution is validated through the scientific process and is essential to biology, the rest is all up to you.
 
I notice however that you don't actually comment about Mooney's quote

I said the various clans of atheists had moved on. It's the rest of us who are having trouble keeping up with the moving target.

... where do you see this as a definition of accomodationism?

Oh, I don't know ... when someone starts talking about "The accommodationist strategy of recent years," I tend to think they are making a claim about what accommodationism is by definining it by what "accommodationists" do. Silly me! After all, Gnus aren't defined by what they do, are they? What just, then, is the definition of Gnus?
 
@Ian
Yes. So what's the problem?
In the context of this post, you seem to be agreeing with me so really you should be pointing out to John that Sigmund does accurately summarize the accomodationist strategy.
There isn't any problem with some people having that approach. Gnu's believe their approach is valid as well and that neutral organisations like the NCSE shouldn't take a stand either way.

@Anonymous
When accomodationists answer questions of "is science compatible with religion?" with "The scientific process helps us approach truth the rest is all upto you" no more, no less, let me know.

@John
I tend to think they are making a claim about what accommodationism is by definining it by what "accommodationists" do.
Really?
A Republican strategy is to privatise healthcare is a definition of being Republican?
A Gnu strategy is to keep pointing out incompatibilities between science and religion is a definition of a gnu atheist?

What just, then, is the definition of Gnus?
I have no idea.
But that isn't the point of your post is it?
a. Did Sigmund misrepresent the accomodationist strategy over evolution? I think not.

If you wish to prove he did you only need to point half a dozen accomodationist post/writings which think that Richard Dawkins and his views should be included in discussions of compatibility. Or perhaps you can get NCSE to include a couple of articles by Jerry Coyne right next to the ones by Peter Hess.

Back to the definition thing - I'd say that accomodationists tend to think that some compromise needs to be made with religion/the religious to achieve a particular end whereas gnu's don't. Everything else follows from here.
But that's just me.
 
@Deepak

That is what "accommodationists" say. Now you know.
 
A Republican strategy is to privatise healthcare is a definition of being Republican?

Come on! The Republican party is a real organization with officers and headquarters and one has to join it or register as one to be "a Republican."

"Accomatationist" is a term of abuse applied by the opponents of those being abused ... just as you say "New Atheists" was a term of abuse. The only way to "define" a term of abuse is by the the way the abusers use it.

Did Sigmund misrepresent the accomodationist strategy over evolution? I think not.

How can you tell? If you can't define what a "Gnu Atheist" is, then you can't define what an "accommodationist" is and, therefore, can't tell what "their" strategy is.
 
@Anonymous
It doesn't matter what you say to me , it matters what you say to the religious - of which we see no proof that people who are called accomodationists respond as you say they do.
In any case your style of argument reminds me of someone I do not want to converse with. Unless you are willing to reveal who you are with proof, I will not be responding to you.


@John
The Republican party is a real organization ..one has to join it or register
Use fiscal conservative then. I did also provide you a gnu example and I wasn't aware I had to join or register that. The fact remains that saying group X follows strategy Y is not normally a definition of X. Reading Sigmunds post I cannot see an attempt to define accomodationism negatively.
The assertion being made is that people who are called accomodationist (e.g. Mooney, Ruse, Rosenau) tend to push the theistic evolution (God could have done something!) view when discussing the science/religion.They also prefer that people with views like Coyne not criticise/argue this view because they feel it harms their message or reduces the effectiveness or it is not scientific or whatever.
Do you actually deny that?

just as you say "New Atheists" was a term of abuse
I've never as far as I remember said that. I said some use it pejoratively even if it was not coined that way.

How can you tell? If you can't define what a "Gnu Atheist" is, then you can't define what an "accommodationist" is and, therefore, can't tell what "their" strategy is.
Sure. When you stop using phrases like "deployed by gnu atheist" I'll stop using accomodationist on your blog. Unless ofcourse you can define what a Gnu atheist is.
 
The assertion being made is that people who are called accomodationist (e.g. Mooney, Ruse, Rosenau) tend to push the theistic evolution (God could have done something!) view ...

I see, people who are called accommodationists are those who push a certain view. But that doesn't define the people who are called accommodationists? Uh huh.

They also prefer that people with views like Coyne not criticise/argue this view because they feel it harms their message or reduces the effectiveness or it is not scientific or whatever.

That's another part of the "definition" of accommodationists but the term didn't start out that way either. Just how am I to know who are "accommodationists" without referring to the positions they supposedly push?

I've never as far as I remember said that. I said some use it pejoratively even if it was not coined that way.

A term used pejoratively is a term of abuse. I'm not at all sure that "New Atheists" was used pejoratively, but that's a whole different argument.

When you stop using phrases like "deployed by gnu atheist" I'll stop using accomodationist on your blog.

"Gnu Atheists" is a term invented by a certain group of atheists to describe themselves. I can know who are Gnus because they label themselves that. "Accommodationist" is a term applied to people by their opponents. How can I know who is an accommodationist without reference to the traits assigned to them by the coiners of the term?
 
I see, people who are called accommodationists are those who push a certain view.
Sigh. Didn't I give you my definition? Pushing the theistic evolution is a consequence of wanting to compromise with religion/religious people. I might also add that gnu bashing is a common strategy with accomodationists (And vice versa) - Does it define accomodationism or gnu atheists?

Why would a non believer like Ruse think that "parallel universes" allow a religious person to square his religion with what we know of evolution? What's his motivation to make up(and because he is a non-believer it MUST be made up) such explanations? Why does he want to preserve religion? Why can't he express the view that if you rid yourself of religion , then you don't have to square anything? The answers to these are what for me define "accomodationism" - The term is based on "accomodate" after all - thats the definition.

And to be clear I believe compromise isn't always bad. We do it all the time for some issues and for some issues we don't. So is accomodating religion good or bad? Objectively I don't know. I can only say I don't want to do it.

but the term didn't start out that way either.
Yes it didn't. But it's what has happened and it's what Sigmund's post deals with. If your point is that it didnt happen - then go ahead show me the posts from people labelled "accomodationist" by their opponent.

"Gnu Atheists" is a term invented by a certain group of atheists to describe themselves. I can know who are Gnus because they label themselves that.
No , that's not entirely correct. A lot of posts were spent trying to show new atheism isn't new. A lot of people who are now labelled as new atheist didn't and don't like the term. The term "GNU" was coined as response to that. Did some gnu's say alright the term has stuck might as well live with it? Sure - But that just shows that we have a better sense of humor.

How can I know who is an accommodationist without reference to the traits assigned to them by the coiners of the term
it sure sounds to me that you do know - its why you spend time posting about it. In any case Sigmund's post singles out Mooney's quote. Now all you need to do is find people who are labelled accomodationist by their opponents and show that they don't actually have this view/strategy. Should be simple.
 
You mean this statement Deepak?

" The accommodationist strategy of recent years advocates that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists."

Sure, I can confidently say I don't think that. I think a variety of voices is fine. I especially admire the work of Eugenie Scott and Josh Rosenau, both Atheists.

However, there's nothing wrong with noting that some voices might be more effective with some groups than other voices.

But claiming that's the same thing as theists should be the exclusive voice? That's disingenuous.
 
Didn't I give you my definition? Pushing the theistic evolution is a consequence of wanting to compromise with religion/religious people.

What does "compromise" mean in this context? Leaving religion/religious people alone? Telling them that some of their fellow theists have made peace (however uncomfortable) with science? Talk about "parallel universes" (which, after all, comes from scientists)? Or does it take advocating that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists? You've just substituted a fuzzy term for Sigmund's more specific example.

So is accomodating religion good or bad? Objectively I don't know. I can only say I don't want to do it.

Do what? What does "compromise" mean in this case?

Why can't he express the view that if you rid yourself of religion , then you don't have to square anything?

Is that the definition of "compromise"? Anything less than advocating that religion be expunged?

but the term didn't start out that way either.
Yes it didn't.


Good! Then we agree that the "definition" of "accommodationist," as used by Gnus, has changed. Oh wait! That was my point.

If your point is that it didnt happen - then go ahead show me the posts from people labelled "accomodationist" by their opponent.

How could I identify them? ... outside the few examples you've given of Mooney and Ruse and Hess. It sounds like it would be much easier for the Gnus to identify the particular people whose views they object to. But then they wouldn't need the term of abuse.

A lot of posts were spent trying to show new atheism isn't new.

And an equal number of posts were spent patting themselves on the back for the way they had changed society's views on atheism and how they weren't "their father's atheists." But, as I said, that's another argument. The fact remains that it is a term they have chosen (humorously or not) to apply to themselves and, therefore, there is no ambiguity about it.

it sure sounds to me that you do know - its why you spend time posting about it.

As you well know, I have long doubted that there is any real definition of "accommodtionism" outside of "that which Gnus dislike about their opponents."
 
What does "compromise" mean in this context?
Anything that one wouldn't normally do if we chose a topic other than religion.

Leaving religion/religious people alone?
Why should Ken Miller , a Roman Catholic, be left alone when the organisation he claims to be part of, does the crap they do? Would you do this for any topic other than religion? An organisation cover's up cases of child abuse - hasn't still come clean , some guy claims to be part of that organisation - do you really think that we should keep quiet?

Telling them that some of their fellow theists have made peace (however uncomfortable) with science
If the question was "can a scientist be religious?" then yes you could answer as above with no problems. If the question is "Is science compatible with religion?" why would someone answer as the above? It's a cheat isn't it - Answering the question you want to answer rather than the more difficult question.
Talk about "parallel universes"
It isn't talk about parallel universes - it's God could have waited till a particular universe had human like intelligent beings - Why on earth would a non believer come up with such theories?
Or does it take advocating that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists
This too.

You've just substituted a fuzzy term for Sigmund's more specific example.
Sure. I had to cover a variety of views. And I took care to mention that it isn't necessarily a negative.

Do what? What does "compromise" mean in this case?
Give religion any respect. Answer questions in a roundabout way to convey an impression without actually answering the question. Make up stuff that allows the religious believer to keep his beliefs.

Is that the definition of "compromise"?
No it isn't. The questions were why does Ruse answer as he does - when there are other equally valid answers (and equally true) - make up stuff as he does. Are scientists religious ? You could answer yes - Look at Collins , Miller. And you could also answer - A majority aren't (elaine ecklund notwithstanding). Why would one only give one half of the answer? Why would one answer this as "it's possible to be scientific and religious?

Then we agree that the "definition" of "accommodationist," as used by Gnus, has changed. Oh wait! That was my point.
Definition is still the same "accomodate" religion. The actions that accomodationists do have changed . Initially it was a lot of problems about tone, then it was science / religion. then it was actually gnu's just exhibit tribal behavior. Sometimes it's gnu's don't really care about science. You probably think that's 4 definitions of accomodationism. I just think that its some thing a good number of people I label accomodationist do.

It sounds like it would be much easier for the Gnus to identify the particular people whose views they object to.
My preference would be to do that. Gnu's actually do tend to name names. Its some people who like gnu bashing who never name names or incidents.
But then they wouldn't need the term of abuse.
I dont use accomodationist as a term of abuse. I dont agree with their views. Take that for what its worth.

The fact remains that it is a term they have chosen (humorously or not) to apply to themselves and, therefore, there is no ambiguity about it.
Did they have a choice?
So if tomorrow Ruse and Mooney and Rosenau publish posts saying accomodationist and proud of it - its done? accomodationist is no more a non-defined negative term of abuse?
The very fact that people named it Gnu instead of New should tell you why you are mistaken.

"that which Gnus dislike about their opponents."
Ah. then we shouldn't need faitheist no? we could just reuse accomodationist.
 
" neutral organisations like the NCSE shouldn't take a stand either way "

The NCSE's goal is to promote evolution education in the USA. Evidently, they feel that pointing out that some religious folk reckon you can be religious and accept evolution promotes evolution education in the USA and that telling people that if you accept evolution you must become an atheist is not a good way to achieve that end. The NCSE's role is essentially political and it is, evidently, their judgment that the best route to their goal is not the one the Gnus aim for: elimination of religion as a significant factor in American culture after which the opposition to evolution education will stop.

"The assertion being made is that people who are called accomodationist (e.g. Mooney, Ruse, Rosenau) tend to push the theistic evolution (God could have done something!) "

Use of Josh Rosenau, at least, that's a lie.
 
""Gnu Atheists" is a term invented by a certain group of atheists to describe themselves. I can know who are Gnus because they label themselves that."

You can also diagnose Gnus by the use of "accomdationist". Someone who uses the latter is the former.

The whole thing is standard radical tactic: polarize the population to force moderates to choose sides as a way of increasing your own strength when reason won't do it for you.
 
Part I:

Anything that one wouldn't normally do if we chose a topic other than religion.

Well, thank goodness you cleared that up!

Why should Ken Miller , a Roman Catholic, be left alone when the organisation he claims to be part of, does the crap they do? Would you do this for any topic other than religion? An organisation cover's up cases of child abuse - hasn't still come clean , some guy claims to be part of that organisation - do you really think that we should keep quiet?

So? Who among the Gnus has confronted Miller about the pedophilia scandals? And what would it have to do with Miller's views on science? Are we to accept ad hominem as valid argument simply because Gnus use it? (Let me be clear: Miller has a view about the compatibility of science and religion. Miller professes to be a Catholic. Catholics have been evil. Therefore, Miller's views on the compatibility of science and religion are false. Ad hominem. If that's not what you are saying, please clarify.)

If the question was "can a scientist be religious?" then yes you could answer as above with no problems.

Now, of course, that was the original context of the "accommodationist" flap: can we tell high school students that science is not necessarily in conflict with religion ... as the NAS booklet and the Understanding Evolution site did? Supposedly, we have to tell them also that atheists, like the churches many of them attend, disagree and hold that science and religion are incompatible.

Why? They are already being told that by their churches. It is the very problem those "accommodationists" are trying to address. If, as Gnus claim, they are not trying to turn science classes into classes in philosophical materialism, why would the fact that some atheists agree with fundamentalist churches that science and religion are incompatible even be relevant to the problem at hand: that some high schools students refuse to learn about science because they think they can't do so and still hold religious beliefs?

Answering the question at hand isn't a cheat ... it's called being relevant. If atheists want to use my tax money to teach children that atheism is "true," then they are just as violative of the Constitution ... and just as dishonest ... as the IDers.
 
Part II:

It isn't talk about parallel universes - it's God could have waited till a particular universe had human like intelligent beings - Why on earth would a non believer come up with such theories?

Is it a possibility? In some quarters, aknowledging the possibility that your belief is wrong or, at least, that there are possible counter-arguments, is called "intellectual integrity." That tends not to be the case with polemicists.

Its some people who like gnu bashing who never name names or incidents.

Which can't be a reference to me because I am very specific when I "bash" (otherwise known as "point out the inconsistencies, illogic, empty rhetoric, etc.") of Gnus.

I dont as a term of abuse.

Good. Then you shouldn't object to criticism of people who do use it that way.

Definition is still the same "accomodate" religion. The actions that accomodationists do have changed.

Then you aknowledge that the "definition" of the term is dependendent on the behavior of the people you want to label as such? Then, I repeat, you ought to send up a flare when the definition changes ... not least because the "group" that is "covered" by the term likely changes when you add new behaviors. I, for one, have called myself an "accommodationist" (scare quote marks included ... it was never clear what the definition was) because I thought the original complaints by Gnus were silly. I apparently am no longer one because I would certainly disagee with any strategy that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists.

Oh, wait! That was my original point again, wasn't it?

So if tomorrow Ruse and Mooney and Rosenau publish posts saying accomodationist and proud of it - its done? accomodationist is no more a non-defined negative term of abuse?

Uh ... yeah! They, of course, would have their own definition of "accommodationist" but then any fight over the meaning would be question of semantics, rather than the use of a term of abuse.

Ah. then we shouldn't need faitheist no? we could just reuse accomodationist.

And they are used differently exactly how?
 
Mike:

The whole thing is standard radical tactic: polarize the population to force moderates to choose sides as a way of increasing your own strength when reason won't do it for you.

Good point.
 
Deepen: ""What does "compromise" mean in this context?"
"Anything that one wouldn't normally do if we chose a topic other than religion. ""

Great! How about marriage? There's a lot of things I wouldn't ordinarily do that I do because I value my partner and respect her feelings. OMG! I'm a stinkin' accommodationalist!

"An organisation cover's up cases of child abuse - hasn't still come clean , some guy claims to be part of that organisation - do you really think that we should keep quiet?"

Uh, I know a lot Catholics who haven't kept quiet. I know many who have joined a different church too. And Rome has noticed - witness the invitation to splinter Episcopal churches. Just because you don't know about it doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

"Talk about "parallel universes""
"It isn't talk about parallel universes - it's God could have waited till a particular universe had human like intelligent beings - Why on earth would a non believer come up with such theories?"

John, was that a swipe at M-theory? I love this blog! But you're kind of right, Deepak, why would non-believers come up with such theories? While they're certainly useful ideas, pushing for their acceptance beyond the point of what we can confirm scientifically is at least questionable. It's almost like they're afraid of uncertainty.
 
Evidently, they feel that pointing out that some religious folk reckon you can be religious and accept evolution promotes evolution education in the USA
See if NCSE came out and said this is what it needs to do as partt of its advocacy - then I (and I speak for myself only) would accept it. However as pointed out NCSE says it is neutral. Then if it goes and does the above it's dishonest and then I need to question its motive.

and that telling people that if you accept evolution you must become an atheist is not a good way to achieve that end
See this is when a gnu gets frustrated and calls you names. It was explicitly mentioned that organisations like NCSE must be neutral - that it shouldnt take a stand either way - and yet this is how you phrase what we want? And when it is pointed out to you , would you say oh my mistake this isn't what you said. Would the rest of the people on this thread step in and say - yes that's a misrepresentation of gnu views?
I'll spell it out clearly
a. NCSE can respond as anonymous said "Evolution is validated through the scientific process and is essential to biology, the rest is all up to you."
Supposedly this is an accomodationist definition and Im fine with it.
OR
b. The NCSE could come out and state that it does what it needs to do - it isn't neutral.
At no point is NCSE being asked to endorse atheism - or state that atheism is a natural consequence of science? See it's right there in english and Im hoping Canadian english isn't that far removed from British English.
Someone who uses the latter is the former.
Oooh. When can we see a post by john about this moving definition of Gnu's?

polarize the population to force moderates to choose sides
Yeah yeah- all of us are radicals. out to polarize the population - with the implied lead the next revolution - hitler , stalin etc etc.
 
Use of Josh Rosenau, at least, that's a lie.
You seem to interpret my statement as Rosenau believes in theistic evolution.
Rosenau and co believe the same "some scientists are religious" hence science/religion can be fine. Or that as long as you don't interpret the bible literally - then science and religion get along fine. All of which are pushing theistic evolution.

You must understand that only saying some scientists are religious and believe in evolution is pushing theistic evolution.
By stating the above you have intentionally omitted that some aren't (for whatever reasons, some of which may even be good ones depending on context). And since all scientists who are religious and who accept evolution are theistic evolutionists (God does something!) - stating only this view does make you a pusher of theistic evolution. In addition to this when you add that other views are harmful, do not help, are less effective (where effective is not defined or measured) than or cause the above view to be less effective you are pushing for exclusivity as well - which is what Sigmund responds to.
 
@John
So? Who among the Gnus has confronted Miller about the pedophilia scandals?
I used that example because of a previous discussion we had - where I believe you felt Miller shouldn't be a target - and I explained why he is for me. Other Gnu's criticise him for believing in the soul or that God did something! views - all of which he doesn't have scientific evidence for, a fact I believe he acknowledges and passes it of as "well its philosophy! not science!". Claims about humans and how we got here are scientific claims - whether he likes it or not and whether he states it or not. I no more accept his statement than I would a creationists claim that the age of the earth is a religious claim.
I've never made a claim that Miller's views on science/religion are wrong because of the above. Im trying to explain why we can criticise Miller and why people who would defend Miller (like yourself) are called "accomodationist" - you want to accomodate Miller's religion.

can we tell high school students that science is not necessarily in conflict with religion
a. A high school has slightly different rules then a general discussion.
BUT you shouldn't have to. If I was a teacher I would have to say Im qualified to discuss the science aspects - I can explain any issues that relate to any difficulties the student has with the science - but any questions on religion - the conflicts, the harmony,the whatever are not part of the curriculum and cannot be discussed in class.
If I thought the problem is bad I'd probably have an after hours discussion with the student and his parents in the presence of other school authorities explaining the reasons and why it is important for the student to know and accept science/evolution - and I still wouldn't talk about any religion.
oh and I schooled in a Jesuit school in India and I never once had a teacher have to say that science is compatible with religion. I had a Jesuit priest teach me Moral science (or ethics) without resorting to anything religious ever. So yes this is not hard to do.

And if accomodationists want to use my tax money to teach that religion is(or can be) compatible with science then they are violative of the constitution and they are as dishonest as the IDers. See I've stated a neutral answer without resorting to any pro-atheist, pro-materialism stance which im sure many gnu's would endorse or have their own variation. And yet you keep erecting these strawmen on what gnu's want. Why? Why do you keep doing it? What in my answer violates the constitution? What in my answer is dishonest? What in my answer is pro-atheist or anti-religion? Why should a teacher answer this question as religion can be compatible with science? Why should the teacher try to reinforce the students religion?
 
@John
Is it a possibility?
Everything is a possibility given an omnipotent being.

is called "intellectual integrity."
Alright . Lets check your intellectual integrity. Answer in yes / no only (pretend its a multiple choice quiz where you can only select yes/no - Please do not provide explanations)
Is it possible that an omnipotent being created the earth 6000 years ago and it only appears to be billions of years old because us humans are pretty limited in what we can find out?
Is it possible that an omnipotent being did in fact tweak the development of the eye but it appeared to have evolved?

Its a cop out to give the everything is possible answer. Why does Ruse need to give a multiple universe theory. he might as well say Ken Ham is right (it is a possibility right?). It is not intellectual integrity that drives Ruse. surely even you can see that.

Which can't be a reference to me
Did I say it was?
Then you shouldn't object to criticism of people who do use it that way.
Sure. what you need to show me is that Sigmund used "accomodationist" as a term of abuse. I believe thats what you are responding to. Accomodationist is a label for a viewpoint we disagree with.(ditto for social conservative)

I, for one, have called myself an "accommodationist"
Now do you get why some gnu's accept the label?. Followed with
Uh ... yeah! They, of course, would have their own definition of "accommodationist" but then any fight over the meaning would be question of semantics, rather than the use of a term of abuse.
Cool . So we are done with this particular argument right?

Good point.
Ha ha. oh wait you weren't joking? Please point out where commenters like me polarize the masses? As far as I know I have these views before I had access to the Internet and before i knew Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins or their books exist so they haven't made me choose sides. And as far as I know I havent made anyone choose sides either. it seems to me that people like Mike see that P.Z. or Dawkins have a bunch of followers and conclude that oooh polarized ignorant masses! Whereas semi anonymous people like me who share views with gnu's suddenly find themselves being told that we have fallen for some polemicist argument and wonder why the fuck are youll being so condescending.
 
I've never made a claim that Miller's views on science/religion are wrong because of the above. Im trying to explain why we can criticise Miller and why people who would defend Miller (like yourself) are called "accomodationist" - you want to accomodate Miller's religion.

So why did you bring it up? Are we back to anything less than advocating that religion be expunged is accommodationism? I defend Miller's right to his religion because that's a right given under our Constitution that I hold dear. I make fun of ad hominem attacks on Miller because they're stupid ... incidentally, something Gnus claim the right to do but, at least sometimes, fail at by their own standards. Why am I an "accommodationist" because I point out that raising the pedophilia scandals is irrelevant to his views on the compatibility of science and religion?

A high school has slightly different rules then a general discussion.

But that is precisely the context this whole flap started in.

BUT you shouldn't have to. If I was a teacher I would have to say Im qualified to discuss the science aspects - I can explain any issues that relate to any difficulties the student has with the science - but any questions on religion - the conflicts, the harmony,the whatever are not part of the curriculum and cannot be discussed in class.

So, basically, you're against giving children facts that you don't like? After all, the NAS booklet and the Understanding Evolution site are giving children facts about some theists reaction to science. Giving children facts is not "neutral"?

And if accomodationists want to use my tax money to teach that religion is(or can be) compatible with science then they are violative of the constitution and they are as dishonest as the IDers.

So the "incompatibility" of science and religion is an "objective" fact? Note that the NAS booklet and the Understanding Evolution site do not actually state they are compatible, only that many people find they can be ... an objective fact. The high schoolers already know that many people claim that aren't compatible ... that's the original problem.

And yet you keep erecting these strawmen on what gnu's want.

No, I set an outside limit to what the Gnus can get. Some of them are ambiguous on that point.
 
Why should a teacher answer this question as religion can be compatible with science? Why should the teacher try to reinforce the students religion?

Why should a teacher tell children that gays should have rights just like everyone else? Because it is a social problem that is keeping the children from thinking clearly. In light of the extent of the problem in America (some 40% of us believing in young-Earth creationism) it is a small and totally justified response.

Is it possible that an omnipotent being created the earth 6000 years ago and it only appears to be billions of years old because us humans are pretty limited in what we can find out?

Yes. As long as logic still counts. If you posit the necessary premises, it is a logical result. The way to argue against Omphalos is to argue against the consequences of the premises ... which was the reaction of both scientists and theologians when Gosse first proposed it.

Is it possible that an omnipotent being did in fact tweak the development of the eye but it appeared to have evolved?

Yes, even more so, because I can't imagine the empiric evidence you could use to demonstrate the opposite conclusion. Do I think it likely ... no. But I didn't reach that conclusion based on science ... and we are only supposed to use science to answer "scientific questions" ... right?

what you need to show me is that Sigmund used "accomodationist" as a term of abuse.

When opponents of people use a term to negatively describe them, when they themselves do not accept the label, it is a term of abuse. My using it in scare quotes to describe myself is no different that "Gnus" using that label in response to being called "New Atheists." It is also why, after they objected, I only used "New Atheists" in scare quotes, until they came up with "Gnus." The notion that people at Coyne's blog aren't using it to convey a negative connotation is being willfully blind.

So we are done with this particular argument right?

Since I have no strategy that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists, apparently not.

You must understand that only saying some scientists are religious and believe in evolution is pushing theistic evolution.

From the Understanding Evolution site:

Moreover, in the scientific community there are thousands of scientists who are devoutly religious and also accept evolution.

How does that assert that theistic evolution is true or that there aren't many scientists who reject it?

What Mike actually said:

The whole thing is standard radical tactic: polarize the population to force moderates to choose sides ...

Do you think that's what Ken Ham and Al Mohler are doing when they say you have to choose the Bible or science? How is it different than when Gnus say that science and religion are "incompatible"?
 
So why did you bring it up?
To illustrate why I would call you asccomodationist.
I defend Miller's right to his religion
As would I. What you are arguing about is my right to criticise him(under the guise of not helping, better targets, less vigorous), and the organized religion he claims he is part of, as well as his pseudo science statements about the soul or the inevitability of human -like intelligence. Where has any gnu ever said people should not have the right to practise(provided no harm to others) their religion?

So, basically, you're against giving children facts that you don't like?
Pull the other leg John. There is a constitutional problem discussing religion in public schools. Which is why I said schools are different than a general discussion where you could discuss religion.
Your the one who wants to tell them one side of the story. I have no problem telling the people that some scientists are religious. I'd just point out the numbers. As well as that science demonstrably works. The rest is upto them.

Note that the NAS booklet and the Understanding Evolution site do not actually state they are compatible, only that many people find they can be ... an objective fact.
Fuck. On and On and On. is it also an objective fact that many people dont? Why do you keep harping on one half? Either say both or say neither. When you emphasise one you are pushing one view.
What about a high schooler who might be on the path to disbelief? What gives you the right to say ooooh religion science compatible , oooh religious scientists wonderful - to him/her?

Why should a teacher tell children that gays should have rights just like everyone else?
Oh do go on. What should the teacher respond when the student quotes Leviticus? What should the teacher respond when the student says that his parents / his preacher tell him that the Vatican thinks being gay is a sin and gay marriage is an abomination? You think oh well some Catholics don't think being gay is a sin is an effective response? Would you want the teacher to say well Jesus - new testament doesnt say anything about gays so ignore the old one? Would you say hey in a parallel universe maybe god doesnt think being gay is a sin? Or why do you interpret leviticus literally - clearly it is an allegory?

Or would you like me list the secular reasons to treat people equally and demand that they keep their religion out of the classroom?.

Do I think it likely ... no
Who asked you if it is likely. I asked you if it is a possibility. So creationism , ID'ism are all possibilities. Why not teach these "facts" to high schoolers - that creationism and ID'ism are possibilities? Ruse's suggestion is as idiotic as any ID suggestion I've heard. It is also dishonest because he himself cannot believe it. he doesn't have the excuse that a religious person would have had.

The notion that people at Coyne's blog aren't using it to convey a negative connotation is being willfully blind.
Didn't I already agree that some do use it negatively? I asked you to show that Sigmund did so in his post. And since you prefer bashing specific people - why do you generalize it as gnus? Pick the one's who use it negatively.

How does that assert that theistic evolution is true or that there aren't many scientists who reject it?
Sleight of hand is it not?
Thousands are devotely religious - But shouldn't that really be a percentage? And aren't all of these scientists theistic evolutionists? Suppose you change the statement to "Thousands of scientists are atheists" - An objectively true statement - Does it convey the meaning that some are atheists and some are believers or does it convey the impression that the vast majority of scientists are atheists.?
 
And they are used differently exactly how?
Faitheist - A non believer who has belief in belief - i.e. believes religious faith is a good wondrous thing - helps one understand the mysteries of the universe blah blah - e.g. Karen Armstrong
Accomodationist - A non believer who feels the need to compromise(fuzzy I know) with religion/religious usually to achieve some goal. e.g. Chris Mooney.
 
Do you think that's what Ken Ham and Al Mohler are doing when they say you have to choose the Bible or science?
Do they say this?. I thought Ham says something to the effect same data , evidence , different interpretations?

How is it different than when Gnus say that science and religion are "incompatible"?
Ah the gnu's are just the same as fundamentalists gambit. I wonder if you think that's a polarizing view as well?

Let me ask a question before I attempt to answer.
I assert that the American justice system is incompatible with the religious justice systems e.g. the sharia or the ten commandments. Would this be a polarizing view (Im not asking for the merits or demerits of the argument , merely would that assertion be an attempt to polarize people into camps)?

Many of the people who become non believers do so because their reason/logic/deductive skills tells them that religion doesn't make sense. if they make the claim that reason/logic/skepticism is incompatible with religion - would that be a polarizing view? What would you have them say if this is indeed what they believe?
 
Since I have no strategy that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists,
Ah so you believe that NCSE should invite Coyne or someone who has views like him to give talks on science/religion?

In any case the long weekend is at an end so may not be able to respond :(
 
What you are arguing about is my right to criticise him(under the guise of not helping, better targets, less vigorous)

And I'd defend your right to free speech. You have the right to criticise theists and others have the right to criticize you. That's how the freedom of speech thingie works.

There is a constitutional problem discussing religion in public schools.

This is my baliwick. There is no Constitutional problem with telling children facts, such as YEC is contradicted by peer-reviewed accepted science (as long as you don't say that makes YEC false) and that some theists accept evolution. Teaching the opinion that science and religion are "incompatible," which is not accepted science, would probably not pass Constitutional muster.

More as I can get to it.
 
Why do you keep harping on one half? Either say both or say neither.

The educational problem is that some children have already accepted your half ... that they are "incompatible." The point is to give them the other side.

Later ...
 
Deepak: "What you are arguing about is my right to criticise him(under the guise of not helping, better targets, less vigorous), and the organized religion he claims he is part of, as well as his pseudo science statements about the soul or the inevitability of human -like intelligence. Where has any gnu ever said people should not have the right to practise(provided no harm to others) their religion?"

And this is what I meant as the memory hole in my first comment. Sam Harris said that science must destroy religion. And the right to criticize Miller was never questioned. Rather, the quality of the criticism was criticized. You should check out those two links John gave earlier.
The biggest problems were
- the claim that if you're religious you were somehow a second-class scientist; and
- science and religion are incompatible; and
- that these two claims are somehow proven by science.
 
Either say both or say neither. When you emphasise one you are pushing one view.

This might be true in a vacuum, but as has been mentioned here several times, there is an existing context when it comes to science education. People are already aware of the incompatiblist view, they hear it in church every Sunday. Darwinism = atheism. It's a very successful meme, and needs about as much promition as awareness of grass being green or bears shitting in the woods. There's no accomodationist conspiracy here to exclude the incompatablist view. It just isn't warranted.

Gnu's believe their approach is valid as well and that neutral organisations like the NCSE shouldn't take a stand either way.

No group is neutral. The NCSE is promoting science education according to its charter and as it sees most fit (based largely on experience). It is not part of that charter to promote metaphysical naturalism. (As John has noted repeatedly, if it was, the NCSE would not be able to partner with American public schools.)

Earth First! was formed by people who thought that Greenpeace was too conciliatory. If the Gnus don't like the way the NCSE does business, why don't they just set up their own shop?
 
And I'd defend your right to free speech.
Sure. So we agree - everyone has a right to religion, everyone has a right to criticise / defend against that criticism and so forth.
So why the heck do you frame it as "defend Millers right to religion" - as if I or other gnu's are just waiting for opportunities to pass laws that ban religion?. or that we would disqualify them from being scientists?

There is no Constitutional problem with telling children facts, such as YEC is contradicted by peer-reviewed accepted science
Alright. is it not also a "fact" that YEC is a possibility
Do you also not believe its ok to tell someone "an objectively true" statement(thousands of scientists are religious) without any further clarifications?
If so then a teacher could in your opinion make an objectively true statement "YEC is a possibility" and leave it at that?.
(And just because of the many misrepresentations on this thread - im not advocating the above - im merely pointing out that your reasoning is flawed because following it leads to the above)
 
@Chris
No group is neutral. The NCSE is promoting science education according to its charter and as it sees most fit
I've already addressed this on this thread. I said either
a. Say NCSE is neutral and practise neutrality
b. Say NCSE cannot be neutral due to the nature of its work and do whatever it does today.
Either of the two options would satisfy me (but wouldnt satisfy other gnus probably) - though i would have different arguments to make for option b.
The problem for me is the NCSE says its neutral but doesnt practise it.
Then we have some defenders of NCSE come out and say it is neutral to do what the NCSE does. other defenders say it isn't neutral but that's the way it has to be - for NCSE to be the most effective.
Im assuming that your above statement means that you don't think the NCSE is neutral for the science/religion question - and you should point out your reasons for believing so - My views are dismissed as being polemical or polarizing.
 
@chris
It is not part of that charter to promote metaphysical naturalism.
Do you notice anonymous's definition of accomodationism at about the 4th comment. Most gnu's want NCSE to have that position - no more, no less.
tell me how the above leads you to conclude "promote metaphysical naturalism" - and tell me why the heck do youll keep repeating this strawman.
 
The problem for me is the NCSE says its neutral but doesnt practise it.

No, the NCSE says it is unaffiliated with any religion, which is true. You are trying to expand this unaffiliation to embrace strategic neutrality, giving equal weight to compatiblist and incompatiblist tactics. Not the same thing.
 
tell me how the above leads you to conclude "promote metaphysical naturalism" - and tell me why the heck do youll keep repeating this strawman.

The reason most Gnus (perhaps excluding yourself) are unhappy with "accomodationism" is that they conflate the goals of promoting science with eradicating religion. I can cite examples if you like but I should hardly have to. They are salt and pepper to almost every post on this subject. Indeed this position is logically manifest in taking incompatiblism for granted, which by definition invests in a naturalistic metaphysics.

The NCSE says it is concerned primarily with promoting science, and as long as religion doesn't get in the way, it can come or go as it pleases. As Anonymous phrases it "the rest is up to you:" Here are the facts of biology. You decide whether or not they reconcile with theism if you like.

The NCSE does put more weight on the possibility that they *can* be reconciled, but this is not done in dogmatic fashion, as though it were an eternal truth about the universe. They nowhere say that one *needs* to embrace theistic evolution--just that it's an option. As John has written, it is done to counter the massive campaign by fundamentalists to equate evolution with atheism, knowing that if people feel they have to choose between science and their most sacred beliefs, science goes under the bus.
 
@Chris
No, the NCSE says it is unaffiliated with any religion, which is true.
Ok lets backtrack. What is NCSE's position on science/religion compatibility?. If I remember correctly the website has the answer as "none". Do you deny this? This is a neutral position - and the rest is upto you would in fact be neutral.
However what NCSE does say is "many scientists find religion is compatible" . Surely this is not the same thing.
You can believe whatever you like about Gnu's and Im sure you dont need me to point out Coynes/Myers posts where they demand neutrality - no more. That they themselves believe different things doesnt mean they ask NCSE to endorse those views. they have always said NCSE should be neutral.
"the rest is upto you" - neutral
"thousands of scientists are devotely religious" - theistic evolution.
 
Deepak,

Show me two actual quotes from the NCSE site that conflict in the way you suggest, and we'll talk. I'm not going to affirm or deny what you may or may not "remember correctly."
 
@Chris
before I answer please tell me what you believe NCSE's stance on
Is science compatible with religion ? is (please do not answer to the question can scientists be religious?)

a. Incompatible
b. Compatible
c. Can be compatible or Can be incompatible.
d. Neutral - No comments - Not part of its scope.
e. Needs careful definition of the word "compatible" and "religion"
f. Something else
No explanations needed - but a link showing that this is indeed NCSE's position would help.


Im given to understand the answer is d. - do you believe otherwise.?

I havent answered your question yet because I would need to go through the site which would need some time.
 
before I answer please tell me what you believe NCSE's stance on
Is science compatible with religion ? is


I'm not aware of the NSCE taking a position on this question, thusly phrased. (Which I why I questioned your memory of such a position appearing on their website.) So I guess "d." But also possibly "e," in that they might have an answer to a related question. To me it's a near-meaningless question, in that each side defines "compatible" differently in order to shore up their position. They also don't specify whether a tomato is a vegetable or a fruit.

What the NCSE does say outright is that it has no religious stance, and no religious affiliation. In that sense they are "neutral." But this doesn't mean they can't or won't partner with people who do take such positions, if it will help them with their mission.

I havent answered your question yet because I would need to go through the site which would need some time.

That was kind of my point. If you're not sure what the NCSE position is, maybe you shouldn't argue so strenuously against it.
 
@Chris

What is NCSE's religious position?
None.

From - http://ncse.com/about/faq
Im assuming "none" means the same as it does in your version of english

You'll notice that the FAQ actually does a good job of answering the question - going so far as to include atheists and non religious people. Something that the "thousands of scientists are religious" doesn't do.
You probably will argue that religious position != science / religion compatibility question. So let me try and explain why we do if fact take the latter to be a subset of "religious position".

Suppose that a religious person asks NCSE "what is NCSE's official position on whether Jesus is the son of God"
NCSE could answer
a. None. No comments. Not our domain
or
b. Thousands of scientists believe that Jesus is the son of God (an objectively true statement).
b. is neither an endorsement of Christianity nor is it an endorsement of a particular religion nor is NCSE now affiliated with Christianity or some sect within it.
If you believe that then what can I say?

Assuming you see the problem in the above statement - how is it different when NCSE puts as you phrase it "more emphasis on reconciliation" of science/religion . more emphasis? when has it given any emphasis to science being incompatible with religion? There is none.
You must understand that religious scientists who accept evolution are indeed , to a large majority theistic evolutionists. Since "more emphasis" in practice works out to "only" emphasizes "some scientists are religious" which in turn works out to "look these scientific people have reconciled their religion by becoming theistic evolutionists, you can do that too!". Isn't the latter what you hope for as the outcome - to get the person to accept evolution? To resolve the problems that he faces in exactly the same way as the religious scientist has done?

Also an objectively true statement is not the same as the meaning being conveyed.
a. Thousands of scientists are religious.
b. Thousands of scientists are atheists.
c. 20% of scientists are religious (Random number to illustrate a point)
d. 20% of scientists are religious as compared to 70% of people in general.

These are all objectively true statements , all dealing with the same data (again ignore the actual numbers or substitute with actual). And yet the meaning a listener gets from the sentences are vastly different. Therefore repeating that the some scientists are religious is objectively true is an irritant. yes we know that.

If you're not sure what the NCSE position is,
Im pretty sure what the official position is. I just didnt have the link handy.

maybe you shouldn't argue so strenuously against it.
I wont when people stop misrepresenting the gnu position on what is being asked of the NCSE.
You see it is tiresome when we demand neutrality and it is portrayed as gnu's want NCSE to endorse atheism. gnu's want NCSE to push philosophical naturalism.
gnu's are only polarizers. gnu's are just tribal anyway.
Stop doing that and I wont need to argue strenuously.Ill still argue though.
 
Deepak,

I have no objection against you arguing strenuously. I was objecting to your citing from memory and then claiming you didn't have time to source your recollections.

more emphasis? when has it given any emphasis to science being incompatible with religion? There is none.

This point has been answered several times in this thread, as well as similar ones across the internet. In the context of this issue, incompatiblism needs no emphasis since it is already the default position of the people NCSE is trying to reach, many of whom are told by their pastors that you cannot embrace evolutionary theory without giving up your religion. Most people engaged with this issue on the ground will tell you this is one of the main impediments to science education, and one of the main reasons creationism has been able to mount a foothold.

I confess I don't really follow your logic in the rest of that comment. On the one hand you say I've built a straw man when I claim that Gnus want the NCSE to promote atheism as well as science. But if it's a strawman, then why all the handwringing about "theistic evolution"? If bringing the public understanding of biology up to the level of Dobzhansky or Fisher is too low a standard, I'm afraid we've set the bar too high.

Obviously some portion of theists will be prone to conversion to atheism, perhaps by reading the work of Dawkins and other Gnus. The NCSE has chosen to play the averages, and approach the matter pragmatically, taking into consideration things like source credibility and tribalism.

But here's the thing: They're just one science advocacy non-profit. Why not let them be, and put your energies into an organization that comes closer to your ideals? Why worry about whether or not they adhere to your idiosyncratic definition of "neutrality"?

Earlier you wrote:

Gnu's believe their approach is valid as well and that neutral organisations like the NCSE shouldn't take a stand either way.

But surely you can see the absurdity of an advocacy group not taking a stand on what they think the most effective tactics are? You can't really be asking for strategic neutrality here, especially since it's well established that people like Rosenau and Scott believe that a hard incompatiblist line is a detriment to promoting science education. So what would you have them do?
 
@Chris
Day job etc.
incompatiblism needs no emphasis
So why did you phrase as more emphasis? When no emphasis is given to any alternate - why did you try to pretend otherwise?
But if it's a strawman, then why all the handwringing about "theistic evolution"
Because a science advocacy organization should not have to do it - it's not a moderate religion advocacy organization. I've pointed out repeatedly what I would consider neutral. if you see that as promoting atheism then you are being dishonest.
What's so hard to follow about the logic.
Should NCSE answer the question "what is the official position regarding Jesus as the son of God?" with
"thousands of scientists believe Jesus is the son of God"

But surely you can see the absurdity of an advocacy group not taking a stand on what they think the most effective tactics are?
And isn't this precisely what Sigmund takes up in his post? It's tiresome to hear that NCSE is following the most effective strategy when no numbers are given - How many believers who did not accept evolution now accept evolution because NCSE told them there are religious scientists?.

put your energies into an organization that comes closer to your ideals?
What a wonderful response to criticism.
Why not ask the organization to live up to its stated ideals?
But I believe Coyne covered this in his open letter (there are some problems with that letter - he shouldn't have named NCSE employees) but I agree with the substance that NCSE loses people who would have allied with it. I see you are one of those who would say good riddance.
 
I see you folks are carrying on famously in my absence. A few things:

If so then a teacher could in your opinion make an objectively true statement "YEC is a possibility" and leave it at that?.

Not in a science class. It is a "possibility" only in logic/philosophy. In a science class, s/he would have to go on to explain why science qua science rejects the possibility.

So why the heck do you frame it as "defend Millers right to religion"

I already explained that comment.

I thought Ham says something to the effect same data , evidence , different interpretations?

No, it is different suppositions ... he assumes the Bible is inerrant and anything that contradicts it is false and must be rejected.

It's tiresome to hear that NCSE is following the most effective strategy when no numbers are given - How many believers who did not accept evolution now accept evolution because NCSE told them there are religious scientists?.

You act like this is the heart of the NCSE/"accommodationist" strategy when, in fact, is is nothing more than a recommendation for what a teacher can do when one kid stands up in a science class and says "evolution is the same thing as atheism" and the rest ask whether that's true. A lot of us who are only "accommodationists" in the original sense think that the tempest has far outgrown the teapot.

Carry on ...
 
Deepak: "And isn't this precisely what Sigmund takes up in his post?"

I quoted what Sigmund said in his post and at least two people here - John and I -are proof that it was wrong. Here it is again:

" The accommodationist strategy of recent years advocates that the public voice of evolutionary science should exclusively be that of theistic evolutionists."

I and others have pointed to an atheist and agnostic who are very much the public face of the NCSE - Eugenie Scott and Josh Rosenau.

Even the Mooney quote you try to throw in our faces only talks about enlisting the help of theists with specific groups where they might be more effective. But he doesn't advocate the NCSE becoming a theist organization, nor have Scott, Rosenau or Mooney stopped advocating for science in the public sphere.
Sigmund's premise has been shown to be fatally flawed. Whatever you're arguing about, it isn't Sigmund's premise.

Deepak: " It's tiresome to hear that NCSE is following the most effective strategy when no numbers are given - How many believers who did not accept evolution now accept evolution because NCSE told them there are religious scientists?."

It's tiresome to hear Exclusivist Atheists lie about the effectiveness of the NCSE. Where are the court cases won by Exclusivist Atheists? How many people have solicited legal opinions from Exclusivist Atheists to help them turn back a creationist movement on their school board? Show me those numbers Deepak.

You have no scientific evidence that Exclusivist Atheism is effective in convincing people to be Atheists. You have a lot of subjective personal testimonies that aren't tested for such things as whether that person was already on a path to atheism and just had their doubts confirmed. And you take those in a vacuum, not comparing them, for instance to the number of children borne into religious families who carry on those traditions, even if they become "unaffiliated" according to polls.

Now if I was having a reasonable conversation with a reasonable person, I could observe that that assessement about Exclusive Atheists was pretty harsh and maybe unfair. But my point is that while harsh, it's also true.

On the other hand, your assessment of the NCSE's performance is disingenuous to the point of being a lie. How many believers now have the opportunity to learn the science of evolution because of the advocacy of the NCSE? That's the mission of the NCSE, yet you continue to try and paint it as something else.

Go start your own organization and prove you can do the job better. Otherwise you just have empty claims.
 
It is a "possibility" only in logic/philosophy.
Sigh. Again - is an omnipotent being a "scientific" possibility ?

I already explained that comment.
Uh no you didnt. If you are defending his right to practise his religion - you must point out where I(or other gnus) attacked his right to practise it. For sure we criticise his views - but he is always welcome to practise whatever religion he chooses (within reasonable, legal limits)- No gnu actually says anything different from the above - do you deny that?. So no you didn't explain anything.

what a teacher can do when one kid stands up in a science class and says "evolution is the same thing as atheism"
See if this was the question being asked , the answer is no , but the explanation is not that "some scientists are religious".
Perhaps the question could be "does evolution lead to atheism?" in which case an objectively true answer , though uncomfortable is "it might and it might not" - "it perhaps would still be acceptable to give(not for a teacher but in general) the some scientists are religious answer. But this is not the same question!
The question that draws heat is "is science compatible with religion?"
 
I would add to TB's last comment that I find it strange that Coyne and those who followed him down the road of accomodationist-baiting feel they have some kind of claim on the NCSE's mission. None of these critics were involved in its founding or the development of its mission.

If I don't like a group that has goals similar to my own, I would be well advised to find another that better fits my strategic inclinations. If I don't like the Red Cross I can support Doctors Without Borders. If I don't like Greenpeace I can support Earth First! These seem like much more effective uses of my energy and enthusiasm than criticizing an organization that is fairly secure in its dedication to its current strategy.

why did you try to pretend otherwise?

I think you're taking me a little too literally here. I haven't done a full reckoning of all the NCSE's statements to see how many times they make reference to the incompatiblist perspective. Maybe it's zero. Given that we've established that the NCSE is primarily interested in countering the fundamentalist/creationist claim that Darwinism requires atheism, this seems to me a distinction without a difference.

I've pointed out repeatedly what I would consider neutral. if you see that as promoting atheism then you are being dishonest.

Or, I have thus far failed to communicate my point to you. There's really no need to presume dishonesty on my part.

In response to what you would consider "neutral," I have replied with a conundrum that you have not answered: How do you promote science without employing a strategy to promote science? Your definition of neutrality makes advocacy impossible. And let's be clear that this is *your* definition of neutrality. The NCSE never claimed it did not take a position on how to promote science in the face of resistance to science in the religious community.

It's tiresome to hear that NCSE is following the most effective strategy when no numbers are given - How many believers who did not accept evolution now accept evolution because NCSE told them there are religious scientists?.

There's not much data on this either way, though some studies are trickling in. The NCSE seems to feel it is on the right track, given whatever internal metrics they use for success, which I am not privy too, and neither are you.

But hey, you know what would be a good way to measure the relative effectiveness of the two approaches? Start a "confrontationalist" science advocacy nonprofit and assess its effectiveness. Or ask groups like Project Reason or the Richard Dawkins Foundation to quantify their efforts, so we have some hard data to look at. Until then, how about a little live and let live?

Why not ask the organization to live up to its stated ideals?

I see no way in which it has not, and you haven't provided any. The NCSE claims religious neutrality, which is to say that it is not affiliated with any religion or creed. It is not "neutral" on the question of whether theists can be evolutionists, and has never claimed to be.

You appear to feel that, to be fair, the NCSE should spend exactly half its resources on "accomodationist" tactics, and half on "confrontationalist" tactics. But that's not how organizations work. You need to go all-in, when running a business. Hedging your bets is a great way to ensure you get no support from anyone.
 
@Chris
feel they have some kind of claim on the NCSE's mission.
Alright- let NCSE officially state "non-believers who believe science/religion are incompatible should find some other organization to support" and I will stop my criticism. I believe people like you do a disservice to NCSE with your why don't you go elsewhere views - A view that NCSE comes nowhere close to expressing. Out of curiosity what is your relation to NCSE?

I haven't done a full reckoning of all the NCSE's statements
So then using your tone , i should tell you perhaps you should cease to comment on such matters until you do? In any case you dont need to do a full reckoning , you only need to point out some. That would take care of the NCSE doesn't push only one version.

Or, I have thus far failed to communicate my point to you. There's really no need to presume dishonesty on my part.
I didnt initially. You keep repeating the same thing. Now I have and other gnu's been pretty explicit on what we mean by neutrality. To say thats the same as promote atheism? What else can i conclude. you aren't stupid, you aren't ignorant. What choice do I have? It's not as if you are saying I didnt mean what it cam across as - you are saying that gnu's want organizations like the NCSE to promote/endorse atheism.

How do you promote science without employing a strategy to promote science? Your definition of neutrality makes advocacy impossible.
Impossible is a strong claim. I actually do prefer anonymous statement for NCSE - you can do everything with the science, make it easier, explain it better, provide proofs etc etc - the rest , including whether religion is compatible, how other religious people reconcile differences is upto the believer.

And let's be clear that this is *your* definition of neutrality.
No its my interpretation of the word "none". A fairly reasonable one in my opinion.
Again take the example - A believer approaches NCSE and says he doesn't accept evolution because he believes/has been told/ has been taught that evolution is/leads to atheism. The response you/NCSE favoris that look some brilliant scientists are religious - Ken Miller for e.g.
What exactly is your best case scenario here? The believer says oh now I see. I can reconcile my religion with science like Miller does. Let me figure out how Miller reconciles his religion. Oh he is a theistic evolutionist. great I can have my religion if I believe in theistic evolution?
That's the meaning you convey to the believer is it not - in the best case scenario?

There's not much data on this either way, though some studies are trickling in. The NCSE seems to feel it is on the right track, given whatever internal metrics they use for success, which I am not privy too, and neither are you.
Fair enough. its why we complain about "most effective". Also lets be clear is NCSE effective is not being questioned. It is.
The question being asked is given the approach NCSE takes to science/religion is that more effective than any other approach to the same problem (it might very well be). Just that , no more. NCSE may be very effective overall - but that is not the metric to use to judge the above question.
 
This convo has taken a turn for the surreal when pointing out that an organization is acting according to its stated principles, and that there are other organizations out there doing work that may be more agreeable to this organization's critics, is seen as "doing a disservice" that organization.

As for the NCSE having an official opinion on what people that disagree with it should do with their time and energy, why would that be of any concern of theirs? Does your local leather apparel shop have an official opinion on where PETA members should buy their shoes and belts? Does your local fast food chain publish a list of sustainably-run, locally-supplied bistros?

you aren't stupid, you aren't ignorant. What choice do I have?

You're leaving out two other possibilities: failure of rhetoric on my part, or failure of comprehension on your part. It happens. It's generally polite to presume the latter before accusing someone of lack of integrity.

I won't rehash my argument here. I plead cognitive impasse. But I maintain that promoting incompatiblism often entails a promotion of atheism. (The alternative is stalemate.)

That's the meaning you convey to the believer is it not - in the best case scenario?

It's not a protocol. It's a tool in the toolbox that many people working in science advocacy have found handy. It's optional. Given a broad hypothetical I can't tell you what the best case scenario is. That's a judgement call. But if a person appears likely to reject evolution on the false grounds that it cannot be reconciled with religion, it may very well be appropriate. And it's not such a terrible outcome, in the scheme of things, that a person should have the same beliefs of a Dobzhansky, Fisher, or Ayala. I know it seems like a terrible compromise to you--which is why I say maybe you are better off supporting another organization. It doesn't seem like such a raw deal to me, given how serious the problem of evolution denial is in this country. But to each her own.
 
@Chris
You're leaving out two other possibilities: failure of rhetoric on my part, or failure of comprehension on your part. It happens.
Sure. which is why you arent accused of dishonesty for all the other things we disagree on.

You are being called dishonest for one specific case. Namely that when gnu's ask for NCSE's to be neutral is according to you gnu's want NCSE to promote atheism.
Since you do not ever say that I misunderstood your position - I rule out the two cases.
 
You are being called dishonest for one specific case. Namely that when gnu's ask for NCSE's to be neutral is according to you gnu's want NCSE to promote atheism.

Careful here. It is clear that you and Chris (and me, for that matter) have different definitions of what counts as "neutral."

I have banned only a few people here, mostly for being crazy, but if you can't disagree vigorously with otherwise rational people without unneccessarily impugning their honesty, that may change.
 
If you are defending his right to practise his religion - you must point out where I(or other gnus) attacked his right to practise it.

I raised it only in response to your non sequitur that I was an "accommodationist" because I didn't criticize Miller because of the pedophilia scandals ... without any evidence that Miller has in any way defended the church on that point or that it effected his views on science, which is was at issue here.

If I am supposed to tolerate ad hominim here, I can certainly explain why I tolerate Miller's belief, unless and until I am shown he is complicit.

Again, if you can't or won't treat otherwise honorable people with minimal respect for their positions, I'll have to consider whether you are welcome here.
 
@John
Where did you see the definition of neutral the reason for why I called Chris dishonest?
I repeat if my call for neutrality and what it entails NCSE saying and not saying(given with examples) is going to be phrased as Im asking NCSE to promote atheism - then it is dishonest. If you can prove this is not so then go ahead.

as far as Ken Miller is concerned - Ive already said the Catholic church gets the power it has by the numbers it can claim. If miller doesnt accept /endorse the church activities all he needs to do is leave it. To still call himself Roman Catholic makes him fair game for criticism.

Again, if you can't or won't treat otherwise honorable people with minimal respect for their positions,
I dont respect anyone who calls himself a Roman Catholic. If that gets me banned , so be it.
 
Where did you see the definition of neutral the reason for why I called Chris dishonest?

When you accuse Chris of dishonesty because he disagrees with you that "when gnu's ask for NCSE's to be neutral" it actually means "gnu's want NCSE to promote atheism," obviously depends on what Gnus mean by "neutrality." We have both expressed why, in the context of what is being discussed, the mere mention of the existence of religious scientists is "neutral." You are free to disagree with our reasons but the implication that Chris, who has approached everything here in a reasonable manner, is being dishonest because of that disagreement is not acceptable.

I dont respect anyone who calls himself a Roman Catholic. If that gets me banned , so be it.

Read what I wrote, instead of listening only to the narrative in your own head!

I raised it only in response to your non sequitur that I was an "accommodationist" because I didn't criticize Miller because of the pedophilia scandals

Instead, you accused me of falsely portrayng Gnus as having attacked his right to practise his religion. Again, you are free to disagree with my arguments but you are not free to misrepresent my motives.
 
@John
Before we get to the main topic - we can have different definitons of neutrality - but you cannot say that my version of neutrality illustrated with examples is the same as asking NCSE to promote atheism. You can interpret neutrality and none as creatively as you wish - you cannnot make my version of neutrality mean a completely different thing - I already endorsed a so called accomodationist position for NCSE
"Evolution is validated through the scientific process and is essential to biology, the rest is all up to you."
You and Chris keep saying this is the same as promoting atheism.
 
@John
I let my anger on your comments about the dishonesty bits get the better of me and I apologize for the statement I made - its my fault entirely.
I do not mean or practise that statement and Im sorry that I said it.
In the interests of honesty though I will say I do not respect a persons choice to call himself a Roman catholic (especially when it is apparent that he does not believe a lot of the roman catholic positions), but it is restricted to that choice only , no more , no less. You might think that there is no difference between my previous statement and this one - I dont know.
Can religious people be good - sure.
Did I deserve being called an idiot for that statement - yes.
Did I deserve being called a bigot for that statement? I leave that upto you. I will only observe that I might say I dont respect republicans (because in my head I mean the policies) - I dont think people will post up comments on how a republican helped them and call me a bigot for that view.

I apologize for hijacking the thread as well.
I will not respond to your other post. if you wish that to be the case for your blog , you need only to ask.
 
Did I deserve being called an idiot for that statement - yes.

A person who can recognize and acknowledge an error is not an idiot. When the error acknowledged is that people have to be judged by what they do rather than any label, it's likely s/he is not a bigot.

if you wish that to be the case for your blog , you need only to ask.

No, you are still welcomed here.
 
@John
thank you.
I cant promise future good behavior -ill rely on you to point it out, when lacking - though as always I may not agree.
 
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