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

Sonic's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Sonic

The word "accommodationism" has a specific meaning missing in this thread.

Jerry Coyne uses the word "accommodationism" consistently to identify a specific policy. Organizations (e.g., the National Academy of Sciences) want to promote acceptance and understanding of some science (i.e., the theory of evolution) against the resistance of religion (Christianity in the U.S.), so their policy is to assert harmonization is possible. I'll write this graphically:

Accommodationism is science outreach asserting Science + Religion = Harmony

For example:

  • The NAS: http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/Compatibility.html
  • The AAAS: http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/ (download "Angelena's story")
  • The NCSE: http://ncse.com/religion

  • After reading those web pages:

  • You probably find their assertions of compatibility are false.
  • Assertions of compatibility are a matter of substance, not tone.
  • Anti-accommodationists believe in simply presenting the science. This policy of anti-accommodationism or non-accommodationism is not hostile or aggressive to the students or the public. As PZ said in the discussion, in his biology classroom, he's occupied teaching biology, he's not going to try to make anyone an atheist in is college classroom.
  • As PZ also said in the discussion, accommodationism may ease the acceptance of evolution in particular, but it undermines the public understanding of science as an endeavor.
  • Accommodationism goes horribly wrong when the science organizations provide details of religion or theology it thinks will help religious people accept evolution. For example, here the National Center for Science Education tells Christians how to read their Bibles: http://ncse.com/religion/how-do-i-read-bible-let-me-count-ways

  • I don't mean to argue over the definition of a word per se -- I want people here to see the thing of substance that Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers are against, and to see the policy Coyne and Myers are for -- they want schools and science organizations to simply present the science, without asserting Science + Religion = Harmony. If you think a debate over "accommodationism" is about tone, then Mooney has succeeded -- again -- in steering the discussion away from the substance that I documented in the links I wrote above.

    Thu, 14 Oct 2010 02:41:49 UTC | #533222