Over at Panda’s Thumb, there’s a big dustup about the piece I posted this week about the accommodationist stance of science organizations like the National Center for Science Education and The National Academy of Sciences. I have science to do today, so I’ll have to stay out of this fray, but I can’t resist a few remarks. (On Pharyngula, P. Z. Myers has a superb and far longer reaction to the fracas. It’s also posted on Panda’s Thumb. I agree with him 100%.)
1. Mr. Hoppe sounds a wee bit haughty in asserting that only he, from the trenches, knows how to win the minds of Americans. It’s not like P. Z. Myers and I haven’t talked to a lot of non-scientists about evolution and faith.
2. As I’ve said before, 25 years of trying to sell evolution by asserting that it’s compatible with faith has had no effect on changing the minds of Americans. The percentage of Americans who accept evolution is about where it was a quarter-century ago — indeed, it’s a bit lower now. The battle to change minds is a stalemate. (In contrast, the evolution side has won repeatedly in court, but you don’t need to push accommodationism to do that. All you need to do is show that creationism or ID is religiously motivated.) I think that widespread acceptance of evolution in America may have to await the de-religionizing of our people, which may take a while. But, as one can see from Europe, it’s not impossible. The winning battle may be the battle against faith.
3. Anybody who thinks I am insisting that the NCSE or NAS start preaching atheism or science/faith incompatibility hasn’t read my post. I am asking that these science organizations stay away from any talk about religion, atheism, or compatibility and stick to the straight science. Further, it is not seemly for us to spend our time kissing up to believers, especially, given what I say in #2 above, there’s not a lot of evidence that this kind of osculation actually works.
4. Whoever the poster “Siamang” is, he/she is perceptive.