Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The "Accommodation Wars"

The mini-epic mega battle among some top names in science continues - highlighted by Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers on the side of telling it like it is, and folks like Ken Miller, Barbara Forrest, Chris Mooney (not a scientist, but famous science writer), on the side of "accommodation" (read: meekly inform theists that science and religion are perfectly compatible.)

We discussed all of this earlier in the month over at Philly's blog (see post and comments). But it seems to get hotter. See the latest post at Jerry Coyne's blog then, apparently, keep checking back there daily for updates. In fairness to "the other side", Coyne is pretty meticulous about linking their rebuttals, as well as the posts of Myers and others who lack the "collaborator gene".

Personally I thank the terrific paleontologist and writer Steven J. Gould and his Non-overlapping magesteria (NOMA) for making this all possible. Great minds don't get everything right. Even Phillychief has admitted to being wrong on some occasions! But this is an issue that needs to come to a head and a final decision made on how we proceed as a species. Are we going to encourage or discourage superstition? I know how simplistic that sounds, but tell me how it doesn't all come down to that.

Update:

Coyne v. Miller Part 2
Coyne v. Miller Part 3

17 comments:

PhillyChief said...

I might have been mistaken about being wrong before.


I really don't see what the big fuss is. Religion should be a private matter, like drinking. You do it on your own time, not at work, and work doesn't halt or change to accommodate yours or anyone else's need to imbibe. If your drinking or religioning gets in the way of doing your job, then see ya.

Miller can function while religioning, like Johnny Fever drinking, so great for him.

John Evo said...

I totally agree, Philly, and I think Coyne does too!

The point is not about what Miller can and can not effectively quarter in some remote area of his brain. It's about the message that he and others are putting out to others - That people like Coyne (and you and me) should studiously avoid pointing out to others the fatal flaws in thinking science and religion are two perfectly compatible world-views.

They aren't, Miller knows it, yet he doesn't want to talk about it and actively discourages others from doing so - to the point of adding to the "militant atheist" meme.

PhillyChief said...

I don't think science has any real reason for saying anything one way or the other regarding religion, so in that sense I have no problem with the separate magisteria crap. The issue, as I see it, is actually with religion trespassing on science's turf, in which case science should have every right to say, "get off my lawn!"

Individuals can say religion is crap or that it's great, but what's the point in any official scientific comment? I don't see any other than objecting to it interfering with science.

John Evo said...

Coyne addresses some of these very points if you read my "update 1" on this post.

Gideon said...
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grumpylion said...

Gid,

Dawkins isn't pushing religion. He's pushing rational thought and evidence-based reality. You don't have to believe him. And apparently you don't, so there isn't any issue here. That you equate what he says with religion suggests that you are clueless about the arguments made here.

Gideon said...
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John Evo said...

You keep missing the point. Dawkins doesn't need to shut up about his atheism, unless he is *basing* science on it. That would be inappropriate. Just as it's inappropriate to tell theists that religion is compatible with science.

Remember, this is the guy you feel to be infallible!

Straw man. Never said it; don't believe it.

It doesn't matter what Dawkins says about evolution and atheism. I understand what he is saying though. Certainly, if evolution is true, then your literal god of the bible is false.

But it is not the equivalent of saying - if evolution is true, then *no* god exists. I believe no god exists, but evolution doesn't prove that. It only proves if there is a god, it certainly didn't creature by creature create life on earth as is.

Gideon said...
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John Evo said...

I'm sure 90% of the people who might chance to read my last comment (what *is* 90% of zero, by the way?) will have a much better ability to understand it than you have.

Hey! Didn't I tell you that you are only allowed to go around farting on peoples' blogs on *weekends*? What's up, Jr? You've been so good at following orders recently! Don't fall off the wagon now.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

You know, after dealing with cl, and reading Gideon, at least cl sounds like he makes sense.

Gideon said...
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John Evo said...

I must be, Gideon. I'm the only one you call by actual name, rather than one of your oh-so-clever reworks on their name. Thanks for your abiding respect. I'll make a rationalist out of you yet. Imagine you using your enthusiasm to tell Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. that they are foolish for believing man-made fantasies. I can see it.

Gideon said...
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John Evo said...

Yet, we're (Christians) are supposed to believe that He fries people for eternity? Give me a fucking break, awready!

I hear you man. That is just *nutty*! It's amazing what people will believe, huh?

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Evo, you crack me up.

Gideon said...
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