Saturday, July 17, 2010

Does anti-accommodationism harm?

One of the arguments in the accommodation debate is that anti-accommodationist/new atheist stridency, forthrightness, or whatever it's termed harms the cause. It drives people away apparently. So the anti side ought not be so loud or not argue their case as a tactic. I think that's what it boils down to. This of course is an empirical question. It's not certain a priori that the anti side are a problem.
Anyway, apparently there is some data.

Jerry Coyne starts here.

Jason Rosenhouse add his bit here with more data. He askes where is the backlash that was predicted to follow the new atheists nastyness.

Josh Rosenau has a post* giving his opinion.

Of course PZ had to have his say.

*I posted the wrong link before. Thanks to verbose stoic for the correction.


  1. Two points:

    First, you mean to reference this link for Rosenau:

    The one you have listed is from May of 2009 and is clearly not a reply to this posting, unless Rosenau is psychic [grin].

    Second, Rosenhouse's data may simply reflect that the number of atheists are rising. That doesn't mean that people who are not likely to be converted to atheism or who are not leaning that way already are not negatively impacted by the comments.

  2. Good points. But the impression I got is that many believe that those rascally atheists would drive oodles (technical term) of people away from science or something. And there's no data to support this. I think that people who reckon the NAs are doing damage need to show this is the case.

  3. Yes, anti-accommodationism does harm. While it is obvious that there is, on a practical level, some 'acceptance' of the various viewpoints in relation to science, faith and in between (BioLOgos, agh!), ultimately the situation must be resolved as either 'god' or 'not god' The fiddling in between, 'allowance' of scientists having faith, and the concept that 'we've gotten along so far' are all, of themselves, apologist and may have been able to meander along, except.....Given the current state of the world with the militant rise of Islam in its efforts to create a caliphate under sharia law, the Judeo/Christian and secular responses to this are interesting to observe. I think the xtains believe they are best able to 'fight the cause', while secularists believe that only they can. I'm with the secularists because if the xtians lead the battle, the outcome they will seek is for their own version of a caliphate and laws based on scripture. The other aspect to this point is that some xtians are radicalising to an extent with their own behaviour as they think 'well why not us too'. I know that this may all sound a bit 'radical' but perhaps it's just a mild exaggeration of the base reality.

  4. Doh! Major blunder - meant to say No, it doesn't harm - too many ideas in head, must slow down

  5. Yeah, I read your first sentence then thought the rest said the opposite. Don't worry, I'm sure most of what I write is confusing.