Michael Ruse has published some articles on The BioLogos Foundation website. Recall that this foundation was set up by Francis Collins and its mission is very clear.
The BioLogos Foundation is a group of Christians, many of whom are professional scientists, biblical scholars, philosophers, theologians, pastors, and educators, who are concerned about the long history of disharmony between the findings of science and large sectors of the Christian faith. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We also believe that evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation. Founded by Dr. Francis Collins, BioLogos addresses the escalating culture war between science and faith, promoting dialog and exploring the harmony between the two. We are committed to helping the church – and students, in particular – develop worldviews that embrace both of these complex belief structures, and that allow science and faith to co-exist peacefully.Got it? This is a group of people who think that science and religion (e.g. evangelical Christianity, Roman Catholicism) are compatible with science.
BioLogos represents the harmony of science and faith. It addresses the central themes of science and religion and emphasizes the compatibility of Christian faith with scientific discoveries about the origins of the universe and life. To communicate this message to the general public and add to the ongoing dialog, The BioLogos Foundation created BioLogos.org.
Michael Ruse's essay fits right in to this theme [Accommodationist and Proud of It, Part I] Problem is, Ruse doesn't understand why he's an accommodationist.
And yet, I am excoriated at every turn. Why? Simply, because I am an “Accommodationist.” I think that some kind of intellectual meeting is possible with religious believers, including Christian religious believers. As it happens, I believe that in America it is tremendously important politically to bring evolutionists together with people of religious commitment, but I absolutely and completely would not argue for a position that I thought wrong because it was politically expedient to do so. I would not say that emotion plays no role in my position. It does indeed. That helps me to take a stand that I think right against folk with whom I would much rather be a friend than a scorned enemy. But I think one can make a sound case for the position I have taken and still accept strongly today. In this essay, I try to explain what I believe and why I believe it. Why I am an “Accommodationist,” whatever that might mean, and proud of it.Oh dear! Ruse is terribly confused.
Please understand: this piece I am writing now is not so much a response as a reaction. What I mean by this is that I don’t want to whine about being mistreated or misunderstood or whatever. As I have already intimated, in a way to respond in such a way would be almost hypocritical, because I rather like the fact that I stir people up so much that they want to strike out as they do. But I think there is some value in trying to see where I have come from, what I believe at the moment, and why I have fallen out (or raised the ire of, because frankly it was not I who started the quarrel) of people who in most respects you would think would be my natural allies. I am going to write this in a rather personal way because above all it is rather personal. I think, however, even those of you who think writers should never reveal anything of themselves will be able to strain through the personal and see the arguments underneath.
The accommodationist term was made up to describe atheists who go out of their way to defend religious beliefs as being compatible with science.1 They claim that religion is a way of knowing separate from science. They claim that science can't investigate the important claim of religion so it's perfectly okay to be a scientist and, at the same time, believe in life after death, miracles, and humans who are the son of God. They are accommodationsts because they pretend there's no conflict between science and many religious beliefs.
Accommodationists are NOT defined as people who have Christian friends and who are willing to ally with their friends on common causes like keeping creationism out of the schools. Those are traits shared by those of us who believe that science and religion are incompatible. Believe it or not, I have friends who believe in God and so does PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins. (I suspect Jerry Coyne probably has such friends as well.) Bringing that up only confuses the issue.
I can't believe that Ruse is ignorant of this distinction because he's written many articles about the compatibility of science and religion. Is he being deliberately misleading on the BioLogos website?
Perhaps he'll clarify this point and demonstrate that he understands the difference between being an accommodationist and being a friend and ally of people who believe in the supernatural. There are going to be more essays, but you can skip Part II [Accommodationist and Proud of It, Part II: A Christian Childhood]. There's nothing worth reading there.
P.S. Michael Ruse complains a lot about being misunderstood. The remedy is not to blame his opponents—although we are rarely blameless—but to try and write more clearly.
[HatTip: Jerry Coyne - Weekend Accommodationism]
1. They were originally called Neville Chamberlain Evolutionists, as Ruse points out in his article. That term has been dropped but you get the idea. Accommodationists describe otherwise intelligent atheists/evolutionists who compromise their principles when it comes to dealing with the beliefs of some (but not all) believers. They do this in order to maintain the peace.