Accommodationism and Why Evolution is True

This was a comment for Jerry Coyne, who just published the book, Why Evolution is True. His post was on accommodationism, which, like Christian apologetics, claims that there are no logical contradictions between science and religion. BTW: The “Templeton Prize” is one million pounds sterling ($1.6 million dollars) that “honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” The upshot is that the prize goes to anyone who can produce the best mix and match between religion and science. The last one was given to “Bernard d’Espagnat, a French physicist and philosopher of science whose explorations of the philosophical implications of quantum physics have opened new vistas on the definition of reality and the potential limits of knowable science” (http://www.templetonprize.org/currentwinner.html). That alone, should warn us of the veracity of quantum physics.


Great post! You are 100% correct. The Templeton stunt should never be pulled by those who call themselves scientists. That's why it was particularly galling several years ago when the leadership of the American Association for the Advancement of Science resorted to that tactic at Wichita during the heat of the battle for teaching evolution (see http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/letters.html). Science and theism use opposing assumptions. One either assumes CONSERVATION (Matter and the motion of matter neither can be created nor destroyed) or its opposite, creation. Religious folks love creation partly because of its glorious promises for an imagined afterlife. Scientists, having to deal with the real world, need CONSERVATION and the theory of evolution in order to understand it, to predict it, and to manipulate it.

The evolutionary purpose of religion is to instill and enforce loyalty, making belief in creation the modern test of allegiance. That purpose is directly threatened by education of any sort, as you and many others have pointed out. The struggle continues indefinitely because neither science nor religion can prove its assumptions beyond all doubt. As scientists and determinists, we assume that there are causes for all effects. Because we can never discover the causes for every effect, we never can have complete proof of that assumption, just as we can never prove evolutionary theory beyond all doubt. But what your approach does so well is to buttress this belief by tying evolution to atheism. It makes all evolutionists stronger, giving us the strength to carry on in the face of loyalty tests we surely must fail. You may not convince more than a few religionists to give up the faith, but you have convinced the rest of us that the cause of truth is worth the sacrifice. Thanks so much for all your work in writing the book.

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