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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2009 :  17:49:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave:
If the Faith Project has anything to do with students in public school science classrooms, then it is unconstitutional on its face and the NCSE ought to be ashamed of itself.


You know as well as I do, or you ought to know that the Faith Project is not what the NCSE thinks should be taught in science classrooms. Attempting to persuade people that their faith is, or should not be in jeopardy by learning good science may be what they are promoting on their site, rightly or wrongly, but there isn't a shred of evidence that they think that lesson should be a part of any scientific curriculum.

Please...

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2009 :  19:11:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Let's say that the scientists have been fighting zombies and on a regular basis they pick up knives, and we've got 50 years of experience with the fact that knives don't help in the battle against the zombies, and in fact sometimes scientists wind up stabbing each other (accidentally, one hopes). The NCSE, meanwhile, has been doing a fantastic job of keeping the zombies out of several specific buildings with the help of a mysterious weapon called "The Law." But now the NCSE decides to come out and try to help in the larger war against the zombies. And they make the obvious mistake of first picking up a knife. Are they going to help that way, or do they just increase the risk of another person getting stabbed?
Yeah! Good on you, Dave! About time someone took on the Zombie Accommodationists!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 06/30/2009 :  19:55:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

You know as well as I do, or you ought to know that the Faith Project is not what the NCSE thinks should be taught in science classrooms. Attempting to persuade people that their faith is, or should not be in jeopardy by learning good science may be what they are promoting on their site, rightly or wrongly, but there isn't a shred of evidence that they think that lesson should be a part of any scientific curriculum.

Please...
Yeah, just ignore the parts before that, and focus on what you can get irate about.

The Faith Project is the NCSE joining into the larger war, and not just sticking to maintaining good science in the classrooms. The Faith Project obviously has little to do with any court defense of science the NCSE has ever done, and everything to do with attempting to get the general public to be more accepting of science by pandering to their religious feelings. That's the strategy that hasn't worked, even though we've had lots of practice with it already. The NCSE is making a rookie mistake.

If we want the general public to be more accepting of science, then we have to stop telling them that their religion is equally or more meaningful. We have to go after the superstition, and at least make sure it's treated like superstition instead of being glorified as inherently virtuous, or even just something to be respected. We don't even have to eliminate religion, we just have to make sure that it's seen as quaint and old-fashioned, like carrying a rabbit's foot (don't see any groups defending science education against throwing salt over one's shoulder, do you?). Then the NCSE will have a much easier time of fulfilling their mission, because they won't have to defend good science education in court, they can instead work solely towards ensuring good science education gets into school cirricula.

The Faith Project will do nothing towards either goal, just as the same arguments from other sources haven't done squat in the last half-century (or more) to limit the effects of anti-science.

Note also that the people causing the real trouble for the schools aren't the liberal theists who would be swayed by the Faith Project, anyway. But when people got upset over it, it was the liberal theists who were crying about people not respecting religion. Not their religion, but religion in general. Coddling the liberal theists necessarily means we have to coddle the fundamentalists, too, because (as Kenneth Miller emptily threatened) if we speak badly about religion enough, the liberal theists will take their ball and go home, leaving the non-religious to defend science all by themselves (yeah, right!). That's how the liberal theists enable the fundies, and because of those long-term effects, it's not a good short-term strategy to pander to even the liberal theists.

All that the Faith Project is going to do is further entrench fundamentalism and ensure that the NCSE is going to be fighting more and more court battles, not fewer.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2009 :  08:59:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave:
Yeah, just ignore the parts before that, and focus on what you can get irate about.


Well, I didn't have much time and it's not like you to resort to hyperbolic language to make a point. Yes, I became irate because in the context of this debate, or any debate for that matter, it has no place.

See, here's the problem. I don't agree that the tool has not been at all effective. And that's your premise. So the zombie analogy doesn't really matter much to me. I think it's just fine to point out that there are theists who accept evolution, and so do you, which is about as far as that strategy has traditionally been taken. I also pointed out in an earlier post (and you ignored that part of my post) that there are both cultural and political reasons why this fight has escalated. Blaming the NCSE's methods, in light of the rise of the RR and the power that they have now, is to ignore an important part of the story.

I also don't agree with the premise that court cases don't get at least one important part of the job done. The other part is through education itself, as I keep saying. Genie Scott is saying that too.

What I think the NCSE is doing wrong is openly promoting "theistic evolution" on their site. That crosses a line that shouldn't be crossed, to both of our ways of thinking. That's what's new. You say it's a 50 year old practice. But I don't really care how a person of faith works it out as long as it's science being taught in science classrooms. It's that thinking that is pretty much the 50 year old part. But now they have crossed a line. And I am in full agreement that they shouldn't be doing it. Remove the Faith Project and I have no problem with the rest of the site, or with NCSE.

It seems to me that attacks on religion itself should not be a part the the NCSE mission. Nor should they promote religion. They should be neutral on the subject, which they say they are. But there is that pesky Faith Project that tells a somewhat different story of late. I agree that that part needs to be fixed.

It could be that we are more in agreement than not. I don't know.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 07/01/2009 :  12:13:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

It could be that we are more in agreement than not. I don't know.
The points on which we disagree are these:
I also pointed out in an earlier post (and you ignored that part of my post) that there are both cultural and political reasons why this fight has escalated. Blaming the NCSE's methods, in light of the rise of the RR and the power that they have now, is to ignore an important part of the story.
I didn't ignore that part, I tried to correct it. And that correction still hasn't taken. Nobody is blaming the NCSE for the current state of the culture war. They're blaming the NCSE for trying to join in the larger war outside the classroom bringing only a weapon that has been ineffective. If the NCSE wants to branch out away from the classroom, that's fine (more power to them!), but they should be trying something that's never been done, or at least something that has been done and which works. They shouldn't be doing something which neither works for their purposes nor works for the larger conflict. In other words, the Faith Project represents the NCSE re-inventing a triangular wheel. To summarize, then, you see the anti-accommodationists doing something that they haven't been doing, and which is nearly the opposite of what they have been doing.

And then there's this:
I also don't agree with the premise that court cases don't get at least one important part of the job done.
I've been rather explicit that the court battles have been good, but that they only maintain the status quo. While not backsliding is an important thing, the NCSE is only preventing backsliding in one segment of the conflict: the classroom. That's the NCSE's mission, though, so that's fine. Let's just not overinflate it. The entire culture war won't be won in the courts, and neither will the NCSE's part in it. The NCSE won't even be able to declare victory when all the school boards opt for good science for fear of lawsuits. They'll only have real victory when all the school boards opt for good science education simply because that's what's best for our kids.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2009 :  22:15:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A person on a blog I read earlier today, but cannot re-find now, suggested that both "accommodationism" and Nisbet-style "framing" could be boiled down to this one sentiment: "be nicer to people you want to convince."

Seems like good common-sensical advice to me, but thinking about it that way suggests a few now-obvious points. One, we don't have to convince the Kenneth Millers of the world to support science, because they already do. They're not going to quite supporting science because someone says harsh things about religion, because they already abandon their own religion when doing or supporting science. The so-called "liberal theists" are not the people who need convincing that solid science education is a good thing.

Two: the ridicule, mockery and outright abuse of fundamentalist leaders and their sychophants has never been intended to convince them of anything. The whack-job fundies are generally unconvincable of anything, so steadfast are they in their own righteousness.

Three: the people who we really want to convince are those in-between the liberal theists and the nut-case fundies. Those who think that Intelligent Design is somehow scientific, or who think the world is 6,000 years old only because that's what everyone important to them thinks. In both cases, revealing the insanity of the people they're listening to can work to shift them towards science.

However, being overtly and condesceningly gentle with them (like the NCSE's Faith Project) isn't going to work. The "ID may have merit" crowd thinks that ID is a way to reconcile their science and their theism, so saying that they're compatible won't change a thing. And for the growing-up-fundie group, the people who surround them cow them into submission with threats of hellfire, so the NCSE's position - which doesn't claim you can escape eternal torment through compartmentalization - could very well be the work of Satan.

So in both cases, just trying to be friendly and unconfrontational is a non-starter. The former group has everything the accommodationists are offering, plus God, while the latter group is being told that listening to the accommodationists is to leave God. And in both cases, a solution suggests itself: show them that those they think of as educated friends are actually evil idiots.

Most importantly, we can reveal the evil idiots for what they are without requiring the "converted" to convert 100%. They only need to step over far enough that they no longer listen to the whackjobs, and the whackjobs will become irrelevant to science education. The "converted" will still be free to despise the rudeness or in-your-face atheism of PZ Myers, but they also won't be buying tickets to Ham's Creation Museum.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26004 Posts

Posted - 07/13/2009 :  15:00:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Eugenie Scott weighs in on the question of compatibility (the full video is dated July 2, 2009).

Jerry Coyne considers what she says to be "trivial" and "insulting."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Baxter
Skeptic Friend

USA
131 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2009 :  13:00:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Baxter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
PZ Myers and Denis Alexander discuss faith and science.

http://www.premierradio.org.uk/shows/saturday/unbelievable.aspx?mod_page=0

'Listen On Demand' section towards bottom of page.

"We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can't scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me." ~from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

"We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know." ~Robert G. Ingersoll
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2009 :  14:39:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The new term for those atheists who are also accomodationists/appeasers/who "believe in belief" is: faitheists.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 07/17/2009 14:42:05
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2009 :  17:23:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

The new term for those atheists who are also accomodationists/appeasers/who "believe in belief" is: faitheists.


I guess we were all hoping that a newly coined pejorative would be found to replace the old clunky one, at last. Go Jerry! You Da Man!!


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2009 :  00:12:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by H. Humbert

The new term for those atheists who are also accomodationists/appeasers/who "believe in belief" is: faitheists.


That is super! I've always hated "accomodationists" even as I've used it. "Faitheists" it is, thanks to Coyne's contest and Divalent's winning entry!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2009 :  01:57:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I feel like I must be the only person who sees assholes on both sides of this fight.


Sigh...




Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2009 :  02:29:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

I feel like I must be the only person who sees assholes on both sides of this fight.


Sigh...




Now you're being a naythesist. You'd be wrong to think that.

Many of us see assholes on both sides, assholes with good arguments, and assholes with bad argumments. One's assholiness is irrelevant.

I think that the fact I'm an asshole myself has nothing to do with my belief that the strong arguments, those with clarity and consistency, are all on the New Atheist side of the argument. The faitheists have been resorting to vagaries, hyperbole, hand-waving and ad homs far more than have their opposition.

Coyne, Myers, and other serious atheists have been consistently on target and clear in their expositions, and have been critical in far more of a spirit of focused debate than have the faitheists. Note Coyne and PZ aren't telling anyone else to shut up, but are instead insisting that they themselves deserve to be heard loud and clear.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2009 :  08:25:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Actually, I wouldn't say that PZ is one of the assholes I speak of, but I may be defining the term differently than you are. But hey, whatever. Mooner, enjoy your war.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2009 :  09:44:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Actually, I wouldn't say that PZ is one of the assholes I speak of, but I may be defining the term differently than you are. But hey, whatever. Mooner, enjoy your war.


You guys started it.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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