Monday, September 27, 2010

More Accommodationism - More "He's not an expert"


  1. It's amazing how such a short blog post can make such quick work of the inanity of this accomidationist position.

  2. Hawking: "The origin of the universe can be explained without a god"

    Martin Rees: "You know nothing about god or philosophy, and therefore your opinion doesn't count!".


    Me: "It is possible to make a peanut butter sandwich without sawdust."

    Bob Villa: "You know nothing about sawdust or carpentry, so why should I believe you!"

  3. Hawking said there's no need for God but his views can be dismissed because (unlike Martin Rees?) he's not an expert on philosophy and theology.

    Let me be the 4,157th person to ask what 'expertise' in theology entails, precisely.

    If the fellow means scholarship about theist concepts and attendant religious elements, well okay. I'll accept that as a genuine intellectual discipline.

    If he means it more literally - theology: the study of god(s) - shouldn't we first establish whether the subject of our study actually exists?

  4. As far as I tell Hawking has simply stated that a god is not required to explain the universe.
    He has used professional expertise
    to come to this conclusion.
    He has not pulled it out of his ass based on an ancient book.
    Where does the 'not being an expert in god stuff' come into play?

  5. @George From NY: From what I could gather from my friend studying theology (an atheist studying theology no less), it appears that you learn German, write lots of papers rehashing stuff people have already stated before and learn to come up with all kinds of justifications for the things that you are explicitly told are MISTAKES in the Bible.

  6. It's been said before and can be said again: if this god manifests itself in reality, in the natural world then it is subject to analysis by rational and scientific methods.

    If it doesn't manifest, what practical evidence do you have that it actually exists? Answer: very little, if any.

  7. I find it unfair to be told that I know nothing about something that doesn't exist.

    Sorry. Wanna buy some tickets to the Invisible Pink Unicorn Rodeo?

  8. Again strident atheism is apparently "Sharing your opinion". It pisses me off how these scientists and skeptics apparently insist on treating theists like fucking infants. Apparently we don't want to make the baby cry, they couldn't take it. Why do they have a lower opinion on theists than seemingly the vocal atheists?

    I'm going to also say that as a former Christian I would be pissed if people like the ACA or others had not made their videos and spread education. If i had known well educated skeptical intellectuals intentionally created an illusion of "it's intellectually sound to believe in God" I'd be mad. The people who foster this are being deceptive. They are lying, and I'm more upset at them than the theists who reinforced my beliefs.

  9. Mike,

    Yeah, pretty close to my experience at college - save that I knew German going in, so I had more time for EBM clubbing.

  10. Re the whole "you are not, he/she is not an expert" line...

    When someone drops that on you, look them right in the eyes and respond:

    "If a genuine expert - however you'd like to measure that - said the exact same thing, would your objections change or vanish?"

    If they say yes, you've got them in a pure ad hominem fallacy.

    If they say no, then ask them why the expert would be wrong - also point out that unless they themselves are experts, how can they know another expert is wrong?


  11. *** Ahem... that's 'accomodationist'.

    Anyway, I completely agree Ing. My university education certainly pushed me to the edge of atheism, but the Atheist Experience videos tipped me over the edge.

    All that 'strident' talk really got me thinking about things seriously. Who'd a thunk it?!?

  12. Is this even remotely about being skeptical any more? Since when is it a skeptical position that the letters after the name are more important than the argument being presented? Again I say this would be laughed at roundly on any other topic.

  13. Just my take on this:


    This is the true yield of smushing together a discipline with a practically innate tradition of a well-defined object of study with another that has never had, doesn't have, and very likely never will have, a well-defined object of study of any type whatsoever.

    I just love it.

    As others have noted, this is really the root of the issue of the "accomodationist" position.

    Now, my academic background is in social science (linguistic theory) where the notion of the importance of a true object of study is still relatively new (about 100 years or so) and is still undergoing definition and refinement. So there it's actually still somewhat fashionable and acceptable to wrangle from time to time over what exactly it is you're studying - how does it manifest, how do we detect it, etc. Terms like "pseudoscience" are often still thrown around in ink and even in the classroom at university.

    But with hard sciences like physics, etc., this is almost unheard of and, when it is, it's dispensed with pretty quickly once the (lack of) basis of any pseudo-scientific claim is exposed. It's just accepted that the object of study will always be well-defined and based in evidence. Those that are not are simply rejected because they don't meet the basic standards of science.

    Nonsense disciplines, OTOH, such as religion and their various theologies, are diametrically opposed to the hard sciences in terms of their tradition. There's no tradition of truth, proof, or basis in evidence at all. Their core principle is that _all ideas_, including those based in evidence, those that simply pop into the mind of the theologian willy-nilly and absolutely everything in between, are equally acceptable as objects of study.

    In other words, they're apples and oranges in terms of their entire approaches. Again as others have noted, arguing about how many angels dance on the head of a pin is perfectly nominal in theology, but in science it's the most "WTF are you talking about" type of thing you can possibly engage in.

    To me, it's just hilarious that this still goes on because you can't get more polar opposite than science and religion.

    They're not "strange bedfellows" in any sense; one hasn't even been shown to _exist_ at all, much less have been shown worthy to sit at the table with the other.

    So, again, I have to just lol.....


  14. At least in America, he's wrong:

    Woot! One for us. LOL!

  15. Quote from James "Anyway, I completely agree Ing. My university education certainly pushed me to the edge of atheism, but the Atheist Experience videos tipped me over the edge."

    I am in the same boat with you. Higher learning made it much more difficult to believe in dogma and matt/russel + the cast of TAE show have really done the dogma in. Thanks guys!

  16. James:
    "*** Ahem... that's 'accomodationist'."

    Why? Do we drop an 'm' when adding the 'ist'?

    "Did you mean accommodation?"

  17. "•Martin Rees is an astronomer. He's writing a book about the origin of life and human consciousness. I wonder if we should bother paying any attention to this book since he's not an expert in biology?"

    Don't you love when they get caught making amazingly contradictory statements or acting in a very contradictory manner?


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