Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some contemporary anti-anti-accommodationist views

I'm a bit snowed under at the moment so instead of trawling through blog posts of a year ago I'll post something more contemporary. Something of an anti-anti-accommodationist or anti-new atheist bent. Does anti-anti-accommodationist function like a double negative and thus be identical with accommodationist? I don't know, but it might. I also need to work some abbreviations for accommodationist and anti-accommodationist as it's a pain to type those words all the time.

Here's a post from the Rationally Speaking blog by Massimo Pigliucci from February 2010. I quite like Pigliucci's terming of anti-accomodationists/new atheists as purists. It's shorter and has a certain snark value. There's a lot of snark from both sides, and coincidentally a lot of complaints about tone. Massimo raises the methodolical naturalism (MN)/philosophical naturalism (PN) distinction to argue against then anti-accommodationist view. Basically science assumes MN for pragmatic reasons, it doesn't need to assume PN. Roughly if science is limited to MN then what it can say and blunted in arguments about incompatibility. Earlier I stated that there were no attempts to refute the epistemic incompatibility thesis. I'd forgotten about the invocation of the MN/PN distinction. My bad. Whether it works as a refutation is another matter. As was pointed out previously in comments, if you don't think epistemic incompatibility works then there's nothing to refute in the first place.

For a bit more anti-anti commentary with snark that's even more recent, try this from You're not helping. The issue of tone, specifically the anti-accommodationists tone toward accommodationists/believers surfaces

In their passionate attempts to marginalize religious belief, the antiaccommodationists’ shock-jock tactics and parlor games are ending up marginalizing themselves.

I wonder how true this is. Aren't atheists marginalised already to some extent in society, at least that's what I hear about the U.S.? Anyway, your mileage may vary. The important thing is there are trenchant supporters of both sides and that's a good thing. Isn't it?

Anyway, I'll try to bet back to some replies to Coyne's article in the New Republic time permitting. I think you'll see that there is a lot of overlap between what was said a year or two ago and what's being said now.


  1. The "You're Not Helping" blog has been exposed as a slime blog with sock puppets. Amongst those that have exposed it are Greg Laden, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers and 'oedipusmaximus' at

  2. Thanks for the tip NEB. I didn't know that.