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← Martin Rees Explains Accommodationism

Martin Rees Explains Accommodationism - Comments

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 1 by Stevehill

You don't need to study theology if you can come up with a scientific explanation for the existence of the universe which does not require the pre-existence of a god.

Lord Rees is no fool. But yes, he's an accommodationist.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 15:33:47 UTC | #525736

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 2 by DamianIcely

Didn't he get Templeton award or something?

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 15:45:15 UTC | #525749

LWS's Avatar Comment 3 by LWS

Some still pine for the good old days when medical practitioners used theology and astrology as the basis for health care.

The struggle to marginalize superstition will take more time however there can be no let up in reminding the public to be wary.

I may be the first person in the history of the website Trip Advisor to post as part of my London hotel review, that bibles be removed from rooms. As a paying guest I do not wish to be proselyted. On the way to the rally on the 18th I took along the found Gideon and pitched it as a symbolic act. Following that up to the hotel management was easy. (FYI - hotels do not pay for bibles, Books of Mormon or Gitas, they are provided by NGO religious corporations and hence this is not destroying hotel property.)

Objecting to the influence of religion is necessary, do it often and in public.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 15:47:19 UTC | #525752

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 4 by DamianIcely

LOL, I'm SO glad that I'm not the only one that feels that way. I ALWAYS remove bibles from hotels and bin them on the way out.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 15:48:49 UTC | #525756

Saikat Biswas's Avatar Comment 5 by Saikat Biswas

Anyone who takes theology seriously knows that it's not a matter of using it to explain things that scientists are mystified by."

Fair enough. So WHAT exactly is it a matter of?

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 15:56:26 UTC | #525759

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 6 by Stevehill

He certainly got the Fields Medal for maths. Which means he's better at long division than most of us.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:00:15 UTC | #525764

Saikat Biswas's Avatar Comment 7 by Saikat Biswas

Comment 6 by Stevehill :

He certainly got the Fields Medal for maths.

No, he hasn't.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:06:27 UTC | #525767

woefulb's Avatar Comment 8 by woefulb

Sounds like the ridiculous NOMA to me. How many times do we have to say: Why should religion be afforded this special pleading????????

These "Atheists, but..." folks are getting almost as tiresome as religionists.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:20:32 UTC | #525776

woefulb's Avatar Comment 9 by woefulb

Sounds like the ridiculous NOMA to me. How many times do we have to say: Why should religion be afforded this special pleading????????

These "Atheists, but..." folks are getting almost as tiresome as religionists.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:22:08 UTC | #525779

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 10 by Mark Jones

Good analysis by Sandwalk; Rees's position is incoherent and contradictory.

Anyone who takes theology seriously knows that it's not a matter of using it to explain things that scientists are mystified by.

What is theology used for, that's the question.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:27:06 UTC | #525785

Quill Mob's Avatar Comment 11 by Quill Mob

News flash! CERN just announced that they've found evidence for god's brain - it's all that dark matter we couldn't identify. It explains so much. Like how does god hear our prayers? He's everywhere! He's telepathic! A new branch of theology is born. Take that Hawking. God has been right under your nose the whole time. No need for god indeed! Snort. Sniff.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:27:24 UTC | #525786

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 12 by DamianIcely

He was never awarded the Fields Medal. That's not to say he hasn't won a huge number of other awards. Still it doesn't matter how capable a scientist he is, he's still a wishy washy rationaliser when it comes to religion.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:30:56 UTC | #525788

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 13 by Cartomancer

Were most of the world not blinkered by a ubiquitous cultural acceptance of religious ideas, this episode would look very strange indeed.

Martin Rees is the head of the Royal Society in Britain. He has counterparts in the National Academy of America, various Royal Societies in Commonwealth countries, and similar bodies of top scientists across Europe and the world. And the funny thing is, overwhelmingly, they all agree on the science. Yes, there are some differences of opinion, but thanks to what science IS, its practitioners can all agree, more or less, on what they've discovered and where they're going with it. The Royal Society doesn't believe that gravity is caused by warped space-time, whereas the National Academy believes it's caused by invisible goblins, and so on. Science is a collaborative enterprise that produces real answers to real questions.

Then we have theology. There might be some consensus among catholics or sunni muslims or Jains as to what is valid in their own version of theology, but put them all up beside one another and there's no common ground at all. The pope and the Dalai Llama and the Grand Ayatollah are not just the titular heads of different organisations committed to the same goal, like the scientists are, they're all doing fundamentally different things. Thanks to what theology IS, its practitioners will NEVER all agree, even more or less, as to what they've "discovered" and where they're going with it. They don't have the same method, they don't have any agreement on what valid sources are, and they don't feel any need to make their findings consonant with the finding of other disciplines - from science to history to literary analysis. That's theology narrowly defined of course - the study of the nature and properties of gods, as opposed to religious history, anthropology etc., which merely happen to have found a home in university theology departments.

If scientists behaved like theologians, they'd be laughed out of academe without further pause. And yet people like Martin Rees credit the theologians with something to contribute to society, when they have no valid method of discovering anything. Even if they DID have a vital role to play, they wouldn't be ABLE to play it, because they don't have a methodology that works - no method that can produce the results theology has can be considered anything but an abysmal failure. Can you imagine if, in Rees's own field of Astronomy, scientists habitually returned papers entirely incompatible with one another - if scientists split off into competing and mutually incompatible sects and schools and factions? And yet, he simply cannot see it for what it is.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:34:09 UTC | #525789

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 14 by Stevehill

@Saikat Biswas

He certainly got the Fields Medal for maths.

No, he hasn't.

I stand corrected: he had it in the print edition of the Independent which I read this morning (along with a spurious Nobel Prize), both of which have since been confiscated in the online edition.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:35:34 UTC | #525792

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 15 by DamianIcely

Oh dear, the guardian really should know better. I mean have they heard of google? They're not exactly a tabloid.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:42:50 UTC | #525794

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 16 by mordacious1

Martin Rees, who is a cosmologist and astrophysicist, did not get the Templeton Prize (yet) or the Fields Medal. I've heard that he was awarded a Quisling though.:)

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:52:49 UTC | #525799

ksmatharu's Avatar Comment 17 by ksmatharu

What arrogance this man Martin Rees has, that he can dismiss arguments regarding god's existence if the person making the arguments has not studied theology.

Science allows us to study, explain and predict the nature of the universe...god included. Discussions based on superstitions, as surely theology is, cannot explain or prove the existence of god. Theology is a talking shop, nothing more.

The evidence for the existence of god is well and truly within the scientific domain. And as science has progressed, it has pushed god further and further away; an entity such as a god has not been required.

Martin Rees may be a perfectly nice person but his statement is arrogant. More than that, his statement is wrong.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:55:50 UTC | #525801

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 19 by Nunbeliever

Anyone who takes theology seriously knows that it's not a matter of using it to explain things that scientists are mystified by

Yes, we have heard that at least a few thousand times by now. So PLEASE could I for once get even a simplified (simple enough for the atheist brain to understand) example of serious theology. I have honestly tried to watch a few theological debates online. I have even tried to read a few "serious" books. But in my opinion it is all so abstract and lacking any connection with reality. I mean, just tell us what books we ought to read. For fuck sake! Just give us SOMETHING instead of that arrogant bullshit about how ignorant we are. SOMETHING? ANYONE?

I get so damn frustrated with all these morons (yes in my book Martin Rees is a first-class moron) blaming non-believers for being ignorant without even bothering to actually explain in what ways our views are ignorant! Heck, why do I act so damn polite. Unless you fucking ackommodationists have something real to say, then you can go fuck yourself you morons. In a way I actually respect fundamentalists more than these damn ackommodationists. At least they have the guts to tell us what they actually believe in. Ackommodationists are the most cowardly people out there. Attacking non-believers but refusing to give any real example, hence rendering it impossible to actually defend oneself against these allegations. Damn cowards! Burn! It is a damn shame such a honourable institution has such a weak coward as it's leader. Martin Rees! Go fuck yourself! I really mean it!

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:07:15 UTC | #525808

The Plc's Avatar Comment 20 by The Plc

Never mind those vulgar gnu Atheists, how many self-described religious people are learned in 'academic' Theology?

And surely the widespread ignorance about 'academic' Theology is surely a spectactular failure of these 'sophisticated' Theological 'scholars'? After all, if their particular god does exist, as they repeatedly insist, making this most important idea in the whole world, then why have Theologians been so poor in popularising their compelling, 'scholarly' reasons for believing in their god?

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:11:28 UTC | #525813

pittige 's Avatar Comment 21 by pittige

cartomancer is right. But is there an attack in the press that suddenly so many scientist agree with theology or at least say that they need to understand this bullshit. Are these scientist uncertain of their methodology or do they think they missed something, or is it after Ratzi has filled their eyes with tears. I don't understand what's going on. Are they paid for it ? Or are they growing old and senile. One of the comments on jerry's blog was this :

"The professor in question was not and is not a unique case. Many “theologians” do not try, do not pretend that they are studying God and gods, they quite openly say that they study religious faith and beliefs. Not least because they have adopted “methodological naturalism”, which rules out revelation as a valid source of knowledge.

If he don't study god but religious nonsense of the people they have indoctrinated for 17 centuries or more then he is not a theologian. It's like an scholar in the arabic history ones said "bullshit is one thing, but study bullshit thats the real thing". Let's stop to be upset with these people and stay rational.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:25:20 UTC | #525820

Logicel's Avatar Comment 22 by Logicel

Rees and the other militant, rude, and hot-headed accommodationists are so busy sweeping dust, roach eggs, and bits of moldy biscuits under their rugs, that if they all go quiet one day we will know that they have collectively tripped over their mountain of concealed and congealed crap and are in a concussed state in various hospitals scattered around the globe.

Nunbeliever, yeah baby!

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:37:26 UTC | #525826

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 23 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Jefferson's quote comes to mind:

"A professorship of theology should have no place in our institution".

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:41:52 UTC | #525829

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 24 by AtheistEgbert

"On 22 July 2005, Rees was elevated to a life peerage, sitting as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.",_Baron_Rees_of_Ludlow

Power corrupts.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:46:14 UTC | #525832

Saikat Biswas's Avatar Comment 25 by Saikat Biswas

This happens every time, I mean EVERY SODDING TIME. Someone comes forward and makes the breathtakingly inane "Science cannot answer everything" comment and then feels absolutely no compulsion to enlighten us with an affirmative. In their mind, the inveterate assumption is that religion and/or philosophy can, almost by default, satisfactorily explain mysteries that are supposedly beyond the ambit of scientific inquiry. Such thoughtless outlook is perhaps not entirely misplaced on seasoned theologians, but it is distressing when even thoroughbred scientists fall victim to it.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:51:20 UTC | #525833

Ode2Hitch's Avatar Comment 26 by Ode2Hitch

I recently watched a very good talk by Martin Rees shown on

No hint of any pandering or accomodationism in this discussion so I do find these latest comments suprising and a bit dissappointing.

That someone of such a noted scientific position can continue to support and vocalise the tired fallacy that religion and science are non overlapping majesteria beggars belief.

This sort of thing from such a person really retards our efforts.


Mon, 27 Sep 2010 17:59:18 UTC | #525837

ajs261's Avatar Comment 27 by ajs261

Anyone who takes theology seriously

That's precisely the problem. They shouldn't

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 18:00:32 UTC | #525840

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 28 by Steve Zara

I think it's time for theology to go. I think that's got to be an important battle to win. The supposed intellectual foundation for religion has to be removed. Even though the God of theology, some vague essence of something has nothing at all to do with the question of whether or not we should be allowed to eat shellfish or beat women, it provides cover for such views because it supposedly deals with "God".

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 18:07:11 UTC | #525842

Cliff Melick's Avatar Comment 29 by Cliff Melick

Didn't we just go through this discussion re: one John Shook from the Center for Inquiry and his post on Huffpo? Something in the water, no doubt.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 18:22:42 UTC | #525850

Hammert1me's Avatar Comment 30 by Hammert1me

Blockquote Comment 4 by DamianIcely LOL, I'm SO glad that I'm not the only one that feels that way. I ALWAYS remove bibles from hotels and bin them on the way out.

** Recycle your bibles people, we could use that paper to print somthing useful, like a medical journal. J.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 18:34:27 UTC | #525858