It always amuses me when an accommodationist tells the faithful that no, there is no conflict between science and religion, at least not if they stopped believing in just those things that cause a conflict. In a Darwin-anniversary piece on CNN, Michael Shermer comes out as an accommodationist, and more: he suggests that people really should modify their beliefs if they conflict with science:
All of these fears are baseless. If one is a theist, it should not matter when God made the universe — 10,000 years ago or 10 billion years ago. The difference of six zeros is meaningless to an omniscient and omnipotent being, and the glory of divine creation cries out for praise regardless of when it happened.
Likewise, it should not matter how God created life, whether it was through a miraculous spoken word or through the natural forces of the universe that He created. The grandeur of God’s works commands awe regardless of what processes He used.
Who is Shermer, I suggest, to tell people what beliefs should or should not “matter” to them? Try telling this to a fundamentalist Christian or a devout Muslim. To these folks, scripture is scripture, and it matters that it is true. If, as recent work suggests, prayer doesn’t work, should Shermer tell the faithful that it doesn’t matter whether or not they pray?
This piece disappointed me, as I’ve long admired Shermer’s writings, and applauded loudly when he went after Bill Maher’s anti-vaccination stance. But lately he’s been assuming the faitheist mantle more and more often (could it be because of Templeton sponsorship?).
It would be lovely if Shermer would admit that, in the real world, the only kind of religion not at war with science is deism.