Jen McCreight of Blag Hag is at the Evolution 2010 conference in Portland and she went to a 2 hour symposium on Communication this morning. It started well, with Robert Pennock giving some good advice…but then…
But it quickly went downhill. Much of the talk was about distancing support of evolution from atheistic views – that we need to stress that religion and science is compatible so people in the “middle” can still accept theistic evolution. That people are more willing to accept evolution if they hear it from their pastor. He lauded Francis Collins and the BioLogos foundation for being pro-evolution…even though BioLogos just had a piece trying to reconcile Biblical Adam and Eve with evolution.
Well that is being pro-evolution – it’s just not being pro-thinking straight, that’s all.
The reason why people feel compelled to do this is because religion holds a special status in our society where it can’t be criticized, even when it’s blatantly wrong. This really came out in the second part of the symposium, which was by a woman from AAAS (I unfortunately missed her name). She said there’s no use in including creationists or atheists in the discussion because we’re extremists who won’t change our minds.
Oh thanks. People from the AAAS are othering atheists now; that’s nice. Science and The Good People are all in the middle, and atheists are way the hell out there on the extreme margin, being marginal extremists, and weird and different and abnormal. I believe this is colloquially known as throwing people under the bus. It’s spotting an enemy and cold-bloodedly deciding to sacrifice an ally or friend to the enemy to save one’s own life or job or ability to get along with the neighbors. It’s not very principled or admirable.