Friday, October 8, 2010

...I wanna puke

I watched the livestream of the Free Inquiry conference in LA this afternoon. I thought PZ’s (theme: "But is it true?") talk was great, but the pinheaded accomodationists got to me. I’ll use this comment as a launching pad:
Mooney’s argument seems to be, if you agree with Francis Collins on 99% of things, then the last 1% is totally off limits. Don’t bring it up, or you’re hurting the cause.
While we're on the subject, I have no idea what "moderate" is supposed to mean outside of a very specific context. Ken Miller is wrong about science history and how science works, he appears to have some repellent political ideas ("welfare queens"?), and his thinking about theistic evolution is erroneous. And he's a Catholic, and not a liberation theologist, so I can only assume he holds or supports many other disgusting notions (of course, he tacitly supports them by not openly refuting them and by being a member of an organization that’s about them). I agree with nowhere near 99% of what he thinks, and I'm sure this is true of Collins – an Evangelical - as well. It's also true of many "skeptics." Who is anyone to tell me which of these disagreements are important to me? Messed up, unevidenced thinking is what I'm going to fight.

…When writing the above, I almost said "especially that unevidenced thinking that has horrible effects," but that would be naïve. It ALL does. We simply cannot say, even if some religious beliefs are patently toxic, that others are benign. None are benign, because they are all premised on the acceptance of the idea that beliefs can be based on something other than evidence. If you accept that in one case, you accept it in all of them, because you’ve conceded that absurd epistemic foundation. Game over.

And which cause are the accomodationists talking about?, one might reasonably ask. Or, whose cause? I’m an anarchist, and anarchism historically has included atheism, freethought, feminism, skepticism, and science. There are parts of the movement that have gone in other directions, but my historically-based version incorporates these. Anarchism, and social justice more generally, needs and includes science (see Kropotkin, Chomsky, Sokal,…). Don’t pontificate to me about what my priorities are. And don't try to don the mantle of compassion and tolerance when your approach is mendacious and belittling.

Oh, and, by the way, I have yet to see an accomodationist who has the slightest knowledge of the history of social movements or social change. Victor Stenger alluded to the evidence from social revolutions. Outstanding. They are messy. Study them. Until you do, don’t pretend to an expertise you don’t have.


    ok, got that out of my system.
    Did you notice, Stenger pointed out the very rapid growth of the Secular Student Alliance, of about 50% per year, which followed the Affirmative Atheist movement, and yet, Mooney went on pretending there was no evidence that Affirmative Atheist strategies were working. Admittedly, the SSA is not made solely of Affirmative Atheists, or even atheists, and it's just a correlation, but it's more than Mooney offered up.

  2. This better be online somewhere soon for me to watch, I only have the comments on WEIT to go by so far !
    Sceptics, don't get me started right now lol....Mooney, ah well, like Barney Zwartz over here, pretty much irrelevant.Whose posterchild is he these days?

  3. Accomodation seems to have been the USA's default strategy throughout its history. Meanwhile scientific literacy has been tanking. Ergo, Mooney's stated goal demonstrably doesn't work. QED

    (Not to mention that religionists really only give lip service to accomodationism anyway, and only then when caught between a rock & a hard place; say, an inconvenient scientific truth they can't refute.)