The accommodationists are sometimes accused of wanting to silence their opponents. They don't like the idea of vocal atheists advocating that science and religion are incompatible. This is offensive to people of religion and it may turn off allies in the fight against fundamentalist creationism. (Theistic evolution shouldn't be attacked.)
The World Science Festival is sponsoring an event on Faith and Science this Saturday. One of the sponsors is The Templeton Foundation.
For all their historical tensions, scientists and religious scholars from a wide variety of faiths ponder many similar questions—how did the universe begin? How might it end? What is the origin of matter, energy, and life? The modes of inquiry and standards for judging progress are, to be sure, very different. But is there a common ground to be found? ABC News’ Bill Blakemore moderates a panel that includes evolutionary geneticist Francisco Ayala, astrobiologist Paul Davies, Biblical scholar Elaine Pagels and Buddhist scholar Thupten Jinpa. These leading thinkers who come at these issues from a range of perspectives will address the evolving relationship between science and faith.One of the missing "perspectives" is the idea that science and religion are not compatible. Sean Carroll (Cosmic Variance) and Jerry Coyne (Why Evolution Is True) both think this panel is a silly idea because that perspective will not be represented. They are correct. This is a "World Science Festival"—you should not take it as a given that supernatural beings exist in order to have a discussion about the compatibility of faith and science. It's called begging the question.
You might think that defending such a panel would be a tricky problem for an accommodationist. After all, I assume they are as interested as I am in getting at the truth. Not so. Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles [Extremists Aren't Interesting] and Josh Rosenau at Thoughts from Kansas [Talking Sense] take the same position. Non-accommodationist atheists shouldn't be allowed on the panel because they are extremists who can't discuss anything calmly and rationally.
Francis Ayala is only one of many scientists who have strong opinions about the compatibility of science and religion. Others are Ken Miller and Francis Collins. For some reason, their strong opinions aren't viewed in the same light as the strong opinions of those who think science and religion are in conflict. For some reason, the accommodationists think that it's okay for people with strong opinions about their faith to have a platform but it would be disruptive to allow the other side to have a say. Does that make sense?