In defense of accommodationism


Yup, a fair comment on Creationism, but most Christians are not Creationists.

To some atheist scientists like Jerry Coyne or PZ Myers attacks on any religion should the the order of the day as “one cannot be a scientist and a Christian” To them the biggest sin is accommodationism, which allows mutual respect and even common ground between science and faith. And so any scientist who “accommodates” like Paul Braterman or Pigliucci has let the side down and need almost as much bashing as a Christian scientist like Francis Collins, or even a young earth creationist.

I find the extreme atheist approach wrong for many reasons;

  • It is totally disrespectful
  • It closes down any meaningful discussions on science and religion
  • It presents a false polarisation of atheistic science OR Young Earth Creationism
  • it plays into the hands of Creationists

Here’s Paul’s introduction to his re-blog. I suppose Paul frequently sins the sin of accommodationism, and I chuckle at his use of the word “sin”.  However neither Paul nor Pigliucci spend their time knocking religion, but rather note that many beleivers are competent scientists. That does not stop them being critical of religion or Christianity in particular, but do so in a decent manner. At times this is quite robust as some of Paul’s comments on my blog are. That is totally reasonable as they are always totally amicable.

Respectfully reblogged from Pigliucci’s Plato’s Footnote. Historically, an accommodationist was a believer who, like William Buckland (Dean of Westminster), or the Free Church of Scotland theologian Henry Drummond, sought to accommodate their interpretation of their faith to scientific discoveries. More recently, the term has been used to refer to those who neglect to sufficiently disparage religion while expounding science, a neglect that some consider sinful.


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Source: In defense of accommodationism


4 thoughts on “In defense of accommodationism

  1. Stephen W

    As far as they are pushing a deeply dubious, negative philosophical ideology they are not scientists at all. They may also be scientists (or not) but when pushing their ideology they are not speaking from any scientific data but from their own bitterness.


  2. Ashley Haworth-roberts

    How a few bad ie very dogmatic and very pushy (Christian) people justify their – undeniably necessary given the utter mismatch between reality and various Old Testament Bible verses – anti-scientific indoctrination of young people (so as to keep them MENTALLY Christian and totally Bible affirming): Clearly the End justifies the Means (especially as for many of these young Christians, at least in the short-term, Any ‘answer’ is better than No answer).
    More generally I would agree that when starting with scientific realities it is much more sensible to wage a targeted intellectual ‘war’ on/against creationism than on/against Christianity or religion in general (adherents of the former, especially YECs, hate and lie about science ad nauseum and behave in a cult-like manner whereas many faithful Christians in the wider church are broadly PRO-science or at least avoid scientific controversies when seeking to evangelise).



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