So I've been thinking about it, and there is one minor point on which I half-assedly agree with the accomodationists: I think it is probably better not to be particularly vocal about the phenomenon wherein people who come to really understand evolution on a deep level have an increased tendency to become atheists.
This is distinctly different from saying that faith and science are contradictory. That should be shouted from the rooftops. And then, if theists really want to go for this whole non-overlapping magisteria thing, where they compartmentalize their faith-based delusions from the reason-based science, then that is their business. I have written before about how I have a handful of faith-based delusions, e.g. I really viscerally believe my wife and I were fated to be together. I can't possibly reconcile that belief with my rational knowledge of how things actually work, and yet when I think about the story of how we met and fell in love, that it was anything other than fate just seems impossible to me.
So I'm okay with people having some contradictory beliefs, as long as they don't get the chocolate in the peanut butter, so to speak. Saying that faith and science are contradictory is important, not so much to discourage people from believing both, but to keep people from getting the two all mixed up.
But this thing where people go to college, gain a deep intuitive understanding of evolution, and then progress to a loss of faith... Well, maybe it's not even real; the evidence is mostly anecdotal (the high percentage of nontheist scientists is just a correlation, it does not establish causation). But in any case, maybe we ought not to be too awfully vocal about this.
I reject the accomodationist claim that the so-called "New Atheists" are driving the faithful away from science. It just seems rather absurd to me that one particular author (or even four particular authors) expressing their opinion on the compatibility of science and faith would cause a moderate theist to say, "Oh noes! Dawkins said faith and science aren't compatible, and I ain't givins up mah Jesus, so now I'm going to stop believing in evolution!" I simply don't see it. Rather, the moderates will say, "Bah! Dawkins sucks. I like Ken Miller and Francis Collins!" The only people who are going to be swayed by the "New Atheists" are people who are already inclined to listen to them -- and the thought of a Dawkins admirer deciding to reject evolution because "Dawkins said it's not compatible with my faith!" is laughable.
However, it's much easier for me to imagine an unfortunate outcome of a religious person becoming aware of examples of theists being turned into atheists by a college education. I could see this dissuading people from going to college or sending their kids to college, or it tipping the scales towards some faux-college like Liberty University. "Those godless liberals at Yale will brainwash our young'uns!" That, to me, is a plausible scenario.
Now, I'm not saying anybody should lie, and I'm not saying that people who shed their faith as a result of education should feel compelled to keep silent. But it probably behooves those with a wide-reaching voice to avoid mentioning the education-conversion phenomenon unnecessarily. Maybe.
I dunno, just a thought.
3 hours ago