Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NCSE's "Don't Diss Darwin" flyer strikes the appropriate "accomodationist" tone

The National Center for Science Education has generated a flyer to be passed out at college campuses tomorrow in order to counter the distribution of bananaman Ray Comfort's mangled version of Origin of Species. I noticed in the flyer that the NCSE strike the perfect tone for "accommodating" the religious in the fight for evolution, while not alienating atheists or making explicit theological statements:

Comfort implies that it is necessary to reject evolution in
order to be a good Christian.

Ironically, although Comfort quotes Francis Collins, the geneticist who led the Human Genome Project and is now in charge of the National Institutes of Health, he fails to mention that Collins is a committed evangelical Christian who accepts evolution!

People of all faiths and of none have accepted evolution on its scientific merits. The fact that Comfort fails to acknowledge this suggests that he is arguing in bad faith.

Right on. Notice how they never actually say that there is no contradiction between evolution and Christianity (which would be an explicit theological position, and not appropriate to the NCSE's mission statement). They also put in a positive acknowledgment of atheists ("people of all faiths and of none"), a la Obama's inaugural nod to "non-believers".

This is accomodationism done right. They make only factual statements, not theological or philosophical ones1. They are inclusive. And they don't belabor the point. If this is as far as accomodationism ever went, I would have zero complaints.

1As is often overlooked, prominent "anti-accomodationists" like Jerry Coyne have clearly stated that the NCSE should also not be saying there is a contradiction between faith and science, because that would also constitute a theological/philosophical position. Based on the NCSE's mission, they need to stick to the facts -- and the bare facts merely say that there are Christians and other theists who believe in evolution. End of sentence.

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