Oh for God’s sake! An alert reader called my attention to two blog posts by Josh Rosenau and Chris Mooney/Sheril Kirshenbaum, both claiming that Richard Dawkins explicitly voiced accommodationist views in a Newsweek interview. “He’s changed!” they say.
Well, I know Richard Dawkins. I am at a meeting with Richard Dawkins. I just discussed these accusations of accommodationism with Richard Dawkins. And I can tell you, Chris, Sheril, and Josh, that Richard is not one of you.
Right now I feel like Woody Allen in Annie Hall. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll remember that in one scene Allen standing in line with Diane Keaton, waiting to see a movie, and becomes annoyed by some pompous guy trying to impress his date by nattering on about the work of Marshall McLuhan. Allen goes behind a movie sign and pulls out McLuhan himself, taking him over to confront Mr. Pomposity. McLuhan coldly eyes him and says, “Excuse me, but I am Marshall McLuhan, and I couldn’t help overhearing what you said. I have to tell you that you know nothing of my work!” Allen turns to the camera and quips, “Don’t you wish life could be like this?”
Well, I have a Woody moment now. Nobody who has followed Dawkins’s work and writing could possibly think he’s an accommodationist. Since I’m here with Richard at at the Conclave of the Godless, I simply emailed him the links to Rosenau and Mooney-and-Kirshenbaum’s websites. Here is Richard’s email response to the claims that he’s an accommodationist; it’s posted here with his permission, and was verified in person:
How utterly ridiculous. All I was saying is that it is possible for a human mind to accommodate both evolution and religion because F. Collins’s mind seems to manage the feat (along with lots of vicars and bishops and rabbis). I also needed to make the point that TGSOE [The Greatest Show on Earth] is not the same book as TGD [The God Delusion] because many interviewers who are supposed to be interviewing me about TGSOE have simply ignored it and gone right back to assuming that it is the same book as TGD.
I sympathize with politicians who have to watch every syllable they utter for fear it will be misused by somebody with an agenda.
So there”s your answer, Josh, Sheril, and Chris. I wish you weren’t so keen to validate your own ideas that you need to distort the views of others in a desperate ploy to show that they agree with your accommodationism. Really, you’ve read The God Delusion and, presumably, Dawkins’s other writings. Anybody with two neurons to rub together should know that the man is not an accommodationist.
Now that Dawkins has verified this, it would be nice to see Rosenau, Mooney, and Kirshenbaum correct their postings. And they need to stop pretending that the existence of religious scientists and religious people who accept evolution proves that science and faith are compatible. We settled that issue long ago. The issue is philosophical compatibility. Is that really so hard for anyone to understand?