Richard Dawkins was recently interviewed by Newsweek: Darwin’s Rottweiler. Here's an excerpt.
Are those incompatible positions: to believe in God and to believe in evolution?I interpret this to mean that in Dawkins' own mind the two are incompatible as he explained in The God Delusion, but that there are many scientists, like Francis Collins, who think that science and religion are compatible.
No, I don't think they're incompatible if only because there are many intelligent evolutionary scientists who also believe in God—to name only Francis Collins [the geneticist and Christian believer recently chosen to head the National Institutes of Health] as an outstanding example. So it clearly is possible to be both. This book more or less begins by accepting that there is that compatibility. The God Delusion did make a case against that compatibility in my own mind.
But on reading this, the real accommodationists had a conniption. Josh Rosenau thinks that Dawkins may have converted to his side and the side promoted by NCSE (who back Collins over Dawkins) [Richard Dawkins, accommodationist?].
This, for what it's worth, looks like the position NCSE has taken, and is, to the best of my knowledge, the sort of rhetoric Matt Nisbet and Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum have been calling for from folks like Dawkins. It matches my own views, too, though I've been less vocal in these debates than many others.Matt Nisbet is delighted because he's been saying all along that Dawkins needs to re-frame his argument to conform to the Nisbet rules for talking about evolution [Is Dawkins Re-Framing His Position on Science & Religion?]. Chris Mooney—who hasn't completely abandoned the bizarre views of his former colleague (Nisbet)—is also jumping on the bandwagon [Richard Dawkins, Accommodationist].
It will be interesting to see whether the usual suspects go after Dawkins with quite the same vehemence that has met others advancing similar lines of argument.
Sheesh! Come on guys, get a life.
Dawkins wasn't very careful about what he said in that interview but to assume that he's all-of-a-sudden become an accommodationist is really stupid of you.
Now we have the makings of a really Alice-in-Wonderland (or Woody Allen) scenario. Jerry Coyne is currently in Los Angeles at a meeting with Richard Dawkins. He (Coyne) showed the Josh, Matt, and Chris postings to Richard and here's what Coyne wrote on his blog [Richard Dawkins is not an accommodationist].
Well, I know Richard Dawkins. I am at a meeting with Richard Dawkins. I just discussed these accusations of accommodationism with Richard Dawkins. And I can tell you, Chris, Sheril, and Josh, that Richard is not one of you.
Right now I feel like Woody Allen in Annie Hall. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll remember that in one scene Allen is in a movie line with Diane Keaton, and becomes annoyed by some pompous guy trying to impress his date by nattering on about the work of Marshall McLuhan. Allen goes behind a movie sign and pulls out McLuhan himself, taking him over to confront Mr. Pomposity. McLuhan coldly eyes him and says, “Excuse me, but I am Marshall McLuhan, and I couldn’t help overhearing what you said. I have to tell you that you know nothing of my work!” Allen turns to the camera and comments, “Don’t you wish life could be like this?”