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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Accommodationist War: Josh vs Jerry

Jerry Coyne visited a group of Methodist in Chicago and had an interesting conversation [A confab with the faithful]. Josh Rosenau tried to paint this as a concession to accommodationism by emphasizing that Coyne was being polite [Minor Coyne snark].

Jerry is, quite rightly, having none of this as his comment on his blog indicates.

There's more discussion at "Gnu Atheist" does not mean "nasty"; "accommodationist" does not mean "nice".

The disappointing thing about this incident is that Josh has failed to grasp the point about accommodationism even though we've been trying to explain it to him for four years. If that's what the rest of the people at NCSE believe then the Gnus have been wasting their time.

And Josh isn't backing off in spite of all the criticism he's received: The danger of certainty.

Jerry fires back with Gnus can be gnice!.


Michael M said...

Don't using the terms "accommodationism" and "Gnu Atheism" set the tone of the discussion before the anything else is said?

Brian said...

I have a question about the NCSE and its possible stances.

Is it not the case that declaring no position on an issue X is equivalent to a positive assertion that issue X does not warrant a positive position at this time? In other words, if the NCSE said it had no opinion about whether Pentecostalism is compatible with science, wouldn't that be equivalent to saying that it isn't bad enough to warrant opposition?

Similarly, buying from a company is an implicit declaration that its policies are not bad enough to warrant your personal boycott.

Personally I see the moderate support for religion offered by the NCSE as a travesty. I would probably support neutrality if I thought it logically possible, but if it is not I suppose I would favor a mild opposition of the same magnitude as their current mild support or less.

This leaves me without an objection in principle to their current policy of broad (if shallow) support (rather than totally ignoring it or actively declaring no comment on all of it).