Dawkins Does a McLuhan

Jerry Coyne took a few minutes from all the fun he was having at the Boys’ Atheists jamboree to do a quick post on Dawkins and accommodationism.

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.

Has not, Jerry says.

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.

And, satisfyingly, he includes Richard’s written confirmation that he is no accommodationist:

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).

Then Jerry expresses a hope which seems unlikely to be fulfilled…

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.

As I pointed out in the comments, Mooney did once grasp this point, though without admitting he had grasped anything new, or changed his thinking, or learned anything from his critics, much less apologizing for maligning them for weeks on end. I pointed out this oversight at the time, but fat lot of good it did me. Anyway he lost his grip on the point again, and now he’s just back at the same old stand.

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