This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Accommodationists, Don’t Lead With Your Straw-Man Argument

Accommodationists, Don’t Lead With Your Straw-Man Argument - Comments

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 1 by AtheistEgbert

The accommodationist's argument so far seems to be: "I don't like your tone therefore you are wrong."

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 00:45:36 UTC | #532744

Barbarossa's Avatar Comment 2 by Barbarossa

I can't tell you how much I miss DJ Grothe. The show is still okay without him, but it's not the same. As an interviewer, DJ's a cut above the rest.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 01:05:28 UTC | #532750

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 3 by Marc Country

PZ hints at the crux here: accomodationists are trying to convince religionists, while straight-up atheists aren't selling anything; they're just finally engaging in the free, open, unfettered expression of their own views, just as as religionists do.

The accomodationists are arguing about marketing tactics and PR strategies, while the atheists are fighting for their human rights.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 03:20:12 UTC | #532783

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 4 by HappyPrimate

@Comment 3 by Marc Country I would have to totally agree with your comment. Short, sweet and to the very point. Enough said and perfectly understood. Guess it would make for a very short interview however.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 03:31:37 UTC | #532789

Tiende Landeplage's Avatar Comment 5 by Tiende Landeplage

Just listened to the exasperating podcast, and wish to thank "moderator" Jennifer Michael Hecht for the chuckle of the day:

"I've had people tell me that I've turned them into atheists, and then Richard Dawkins turned them back."

As far as I could make out from her ramblings, criticizing religion might offend some of those non-religious people who have some vague feeling of "spirituality". And PZ tried in vain to explain that she was missing the point.

For she's a jolly good Templeton Fellow...

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 05:26:21 UTC | #532814

Bala's Avatar Comment 6 by Bala

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 05:37:42 UTC | #532815

Roedy's Avatar Comment 7 by Roedy

To make sense of this story you need to know a two things:

  1. What point of view did each of Chris Mooney and P.Z. Myer argue?

  2. what is an an accomodationist?

I think the lead article should make those clearer.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 07:08:51 UTC | #532828

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 8 by Jos Gibbons

The podcast's link describes Myers and Hecht in roughly equal detail and basically doesn't say anything of Mooney. Why? As uncharitable as it may sound, my best guess is they knew how Hecht would behave and would welcome it, and would rather she debate with Myers than Mooney do it, as Mooney isn't as able, or at least not as possessed of accolades to write of. Whatever the reason, this is very weird.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 07:13:40 UTC | #532830

keddaw's Avatar Comment 9 by keddaw

Comment 5 by Tiende Landeplage :

Just listened to the exasperating podcast, and wish to thank "moderator" Jennifer Michael Hecht for the chuckle of the day:

"I've had people tell me that I've turned them into atheists, and then Richard Dawkins turned them back."

As far as I could make out from her ramblings, criticizing religion might offend some of those non-religious people who have some vague feeling of "spirituality". And PZ tried in vain to explain that she was missing the point.

For she's a jolly good Templeton Fellow...

I quite agree. Her statement that she had turned someone into an atheist and Dawkins had made them return to religion suggests she didn't do a very good job of it in the first place. No-one I've ever de-converted has ever gone back. But then I use logic, ridicule and facts rather than cajoling, biscuits and accommodation.

If people have silly beliefs and pointing them out means that they will retreat into the arms of the people with sillier ones then they were never on your side to begin with.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 10:54:34 UTC | #532905

Ballardian's Avatar Comment 10 by Ballardian

What is this sensitivity to any radio host/TV presenter/journalist who doesn't completely fall in line with what a particular New Atheist has to say? To my ears, Jennifer Michael Hecht is incredibly patient with PZ, considering interviewing him must be such a grinding chore. What is she supposed to do, give him a neck massage, feed him grapes, stare and nod at him slavishly with chin on fist? Considering people like PZ make a virtue out of disrespect, it's sort of ludicrous to wish everyone to respect - more than respect, to flatter - PZ.

PZ is bafflingly psychotic in this discussion. He really would like you to believe that he eats iron filings for breakfast and sleeps exclusively on shiny lab floors. For some reason he calls Mooney's 'brand' of atheism 'soft and fuzzy spiritual atheism', as if it's a competition to see who has the biggest and hardest atheism. He talks like he's got to middle age without ever once having a profound thought (I'm sure he has, but he burned out the memory a long time ago with shots of hydrochloric acid). He shouldn't be taken seriously.

I wouldn't normally be that blunt (slinging mud on the internet is one of the less noble pastimes) but PZ goes out of his way to be a pain, and there's a whiff of insincerity about his views that makes me think the joke's on me anyway.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 11:17:07 UTC | #532917

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

@ Ballardian

You do make me chuckle. Take the socks out of your ears and maybe you'd hear what's being said. Hecht was not interviewing, this was a debate and she was supposed to be the moderator. Where in that debate was PZ at all disrespectful? Why must he debate with the moderator?

You're also nihilistic attacking PZ for being disrespectful while then going on a completely unfounded rant attacking PZ rather than what he is saying. Hypocrisy much? So it's okay for you to be disrespectful but not PZ, even though PZ wasn't being disrespectful.

Accommodationists are hilarious.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 12:34:48 UTC | #532939

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 12 by Peter Grant

Us gnu atheists may be arrogant and strident but this supposedly gentle accommodationist is surprisingly bitchy.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 13:23:48 UTC | #532956

mlgatheist's Avatar Comment 13 by mlgatheist

" No-one I've ever de-converted has ever gone back. But then I use logic, ridicule and facts rather than cajoling, biscuits and accommodation."

I do not attempt to "de-convert" or "convert" anyone. I state facts, make fun of the nonsense, and accept that a true theist has no desire to hear facts or see any real evidence.

If they will not listen to the facts and they reject all real evidence then they stay dumb and happy.

I have heard hundreds say that they have their faith and have no need of anything else. I remember one old lady tell me to keep my Satan created "evidence" and my satanic science to myself. She stated that I will burn in hell with Einstein, Galileo, Newton and all those other Satan worshipping scientist who truly know nothing. I didn't bother to tell her that 2 of those scientists were xtian.

The older members of evangelical religions (such as Southern Baptists) would be hilarious if they weren't so pathetic.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 13:29:36 UTC | #532960

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 14 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 12 by Peter Grant :

Us gnu atheists may be arrogant and strident but this supposedly gentle accommodationist is surprisingly bitchy.

Hecht came across as the rude one. She even said to PZ that he was wrong without developing any reasonable argument. It would be a nice simple way to go through life saying "you're wrong" to people, but it does suggest that accommodationists are not really accommodating when it comes to the uber atheists.

Booth Mooney and PZ were so laid back and coherent, it was spooky. There was no measure of hostility between them, but plenty of hostility in the 'tone' of Hecht's arguments. Isn't that telling.

And finally, none of the uber atheists care how other atheists choose to interact with theists. We're accommodating to other atheists approaches, but the accommodationists aren't accommodating to us, they're clearly hostile to us. Isn't that the bizarre thing about all this?

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 13:53:16 UTC | #532968

keddaw's Avatar Comment 15 by keddaw

@mlgatheist

I attempt to de-convert everybody, not because I think (or know!) I am right, but because I know they are wrong.

While de-converting individuals may not do them any short term good it is good for society as a whole.

Similarly if people hold self-contradictory views on anything, or wrong views on science then I attempt to enlighten them. I see it as the price I pay for being a smart-ass.

Incidentally, I also hold self-contradictory views, but I am gradually reducing them over time (e.g. I support a football team which is an illogical thing to do, I know this and am trying to wean myself off of it.)

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 14:51:52 UTC | #532984

hhobbit's Avatar Comment 16 by hhobbit

It's hilarious to read the different takes, kinda makes me wonder do people have genetically different ears or what. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I incline to agree with Myers; Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays with Hecht and what's that other guys name ah yes I remember Mooney. On Sundays I keep my opinions to myself realising I can argue myself out of any pigeonhole others want me in.

Joking aside I thought: Hecht did not chair the "debate", she elbowed Mooney aside, All three came across as reasonable and civil human beings, All made interesting and valid points, Its possible their views could be reconciled, but they just weren't listening attentively enough to each other, Their goals came out as slightly different, which would explain why they kept repeating their own points, Its very hard to listen to others when you have so many clever things of your own to say.

I owe it to the debate to listen at least one more time; who knows I might learn some more stuff.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 14:58:45 UTC | #532985

David-in-Toronto's Avatar Comment 17 by David-in-Toronto

Not that I agree with anything she said... IMO, Hecht was not as objectionable as the various critiques had led me to expect. But in terms of their own “journalistic” credibility, POI should have represented this as a 3-way (or 2 vs 1) debate - with no pretense of there being an impartial moderator. Bad form.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 15:32:57 UTC | #532997

Ballardian's Avatar Comment 18 by Ballardian

Comment 11 by AtheistEgbert

PZ Myers admits to being disrespectful. He sees no reason to respect religious views, and says so repeatedly. He even seems to suggest that it is dangerous to treat religious views with respect. This is what I meant when I wrote that he makes a virtue out of disrespect

And finally, none of the uber atheists care how other atheists choose to interact with theists. We're accommodating to other atheists approaches, but the accommodationists aren't accommodating to us, they're clearly hostile to us. Isn't that the bizarre thing about all this?

So-called 'accommodationists' are what people like you call anyone with a sympathetic view towards religion. It's your word. You can't endorse a label for a group and then be annoyed when they don't conform to that label. In what way do you wish to be accommodated, anyway? I think people who share PZ Myers' views, for example, are accommodated as much as they can be, considering they are quite fringe beliefs. Hecht was not hostile at all. PZ deserved to be challenged a lot more than he was. Do you expect a red carpet? The world shouldn't shift for a few extremists.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 16:15:16 UTC | #533010

PERSON's Avatar Comment 19 by PERSON

"Incidentally, I also hold self-contradictory views, but I am gradually reducing them over time (e.g. I support a football team which is an illogical thing to do, I know this and am trying to wean myself off of it.)" I don't see that as necessarily a problem, myself. It's a case where compartmentalisation might be a good thing. It might even be useful to examine what you mean by "support" and look at and modify the emotional bond you have with the team (and your supporter peers, I guess) putting it aspect by aspect on a rational basis, rather than just trying to destroy it. That way, even if you analyse it so much it falls apart, you'll have learnt something about yourself. Further, if you really do decide to do away with it, having broken it down you'll find that easier I'd think.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 16:15:37 UTC | #533011

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 20 by Peter Grant

Comment 14 by AtheistEgbert

Hecht came across as the rude one.

Agreed, she interrupts sarcastically at one point:

No I'm saying you might be a little wrong, and it doesn't seem like you know it.

This must be some incommunicable way of knowing she has access to because she then fails to explain in what way PZ might be wrong.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 16:18:28 UTC | #533013

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 21 by crookedshoes

keddaw, why is support of a football team unreasonable or self contradictory? Now I am confused. I support my local teams with my attendance and I support the high school team (where I work) as well. What am I contradicting?

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 16:19:42 UTC | #533014

jackarandarainbow's Avatar Comment 22 by jackarandarainbow

No, you all miss the motivational truth, the driver of phantasy. The salient fact is that adopting an argument derives from one's psychological needs as much as it derives from reason or phantasy. Richard has a need to investigate and find the truth. This need arose in respect of his experience of life and of his developing relationships from birth to present. Fortunately for him it is a need which has resulted in questioning and deeply thinking behaviours which all of us, excepting the moral and intellectual cowards who compulsively embarrasss us with their phantasies, very much admire.

Conversely, the phantasist has a need deriving from different but still overwhelmingly compelling psychological origins in their experience of others. It is this need whih compells them to insist on TV or anywhere else that lies are truth and science is unreasonable. So remember that, guys, its psychological need that drives both sides of this argument.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 17:07:35 UTC | #533029

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 23 by DamianIcely

The "accommodationist" label is extremely poor. Why? Well, beacause, as all the posts above show, accommodationists accommodate anything but a bit of satire and open debate against those they accommodate. It also has too many consonants.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 18:56:17 UTC | #533067

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 24 by SourTomatoSand

Sweet zombie Jesus. I almost had to turn this debate off because of Hecht. Perhaps the term "coddler" makes better nomenclature than "accomodationist."

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 19:14:25 UTC | #533074

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 25 by DamianIcely

YES! Religious coddlers.

As in:

"Awwww look at the cute little fuzzy religious beliefs. Stop being such a nasty atheist and attacking those darling little undefensible positions. For Shame!"

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 19:26:20 UTC | #533078

locutus7's Avatar Comment 26 by locutus7

Agree with comment 23.

After hearing self-proclaimed atheist S.E. CUPP on the Bill Maher show (with RD), I'm becoming persuaded that religions are deploying certain of these soi disant atheists, aka "I'm an atheist but...", to discredit the atheist movement. They are moles. They claim to be atheists but when you listen closely to some of their comments, they come across as just a little too pro-believer to, no pun intended, be believed.

But since there is no way of demonstrating in an evidential way the difference between actual atheists and the faux types, we just have to remain alert.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 19:27:41 UTC | #533080

rrh1306's Avatar Comment 27 by rrh1306

calling all atheist. go to this jerk authors site.

http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2008/11/01/atheists-contradict-themselves/#comment-15300

he's the author of "atheist: a non prophet organazation. the guys a complete jerk. and he has a comment board below all of his rambling were he's defending he rather smug views about atheist. ive done my two cents. you guys check it out and post too.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 19:52:06 UTC | #533090

SourTomatoSand's Avatar Comment 28 by SourTomatoSand

Comment 27 by rrh1306

So that guy's arguing that religion is true because in order for atheism to exist, it has to contrast with theism? And people agree with this?

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 20:05:18 UTC | #533091

DamianIcely's Avatar Comment 29 by DamianIcely

Comment 27 by rrh1306 :

calling all atheist. go to this jerk authors site.

http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2008/11/01/atheists-contradict-themselves/#comment-15300

he's the author of "atheist: a non prophet organazation. the guys a complete jerk. and he has a comment board below all of his rambling were he's defending he rather smug views about atheist. ive done my two cents. you guys check it out and post too.

Calling all atheists don't bother. The post is two years old and the guy is clearly a raging looney (check his more recent posts). Love your enthusiasm rrh1306, but responding to all the nutty blog posts from the last two years that cricize us is not the most productive use of our time.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 20:11:31 UTC | #533094

locutus7's Avatar Comment 30 by locutus7

So, conversely, atheism must be true because religion exists? I like it.

Wed, 13 Oct 2010 20:48:47 UTC | #533103