Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum (M&K) have published yet another piece to promote their new book, this time in the Opinion section of the LA Times. It’s the same accomodationist crap they’ve been spouting for awhile now, except now they’re launching into a preemptive attack on Richard Dawkins’ upcoming book, The Greatest Show on Earth, which as far as I’m aware is not another “New Atheist” book but is actually supposed to be exactly what M&K claim they want, a book that communicates science in a way that connects with readers and doesn’t attack their religion. So what are M&K complaining about?
M&K suffer from the same problem that I find with uber-pacifists and New Age people: the paradox of paradise. They call for a non-confrontational approach to things and desire an ideal world where everyone just gets along but they themselves create conflict with their own critics because they realize their ideal world can’t co-exist with dissenting views. So those most advocating non-confrontationalism pick fights with those who disagree with their philosophy and see merit in certain conflicts. Hence the fact that in addition to criticizing Dawkins, they go after their other favorite targets, PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne. So they gave your book bad reviews because they found your conclusions superficial and naive? Get over it already.
What’s interesting is that another big promoter of this accomodationist approach of “framing” science, Randy Olsen, actually got an almost favorable review from PZ Myers for his recent book. . .almost. The third guy in this Axis of Framers is Matthew Nisbit, who I know nothing about other than what I heard from his interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast, where in the same breath he chastized Dawkins for being a bad representative of science and atheism because he’s a big meany while then applauding the fictional Dr. House for being a good representative for science and atheism. Now I have only seen a handful of episodes of House, but it seems to me that Dr. House is far more of a meany than Dawkins. But maybe I’m wrong on that one.
Ultimately, it seems like it’s the “New Atheists” who want people to actually understand science & the accomodationists who want mindless converts who just say they accept science while still holding onto Bronze Age superstitions. Considering how many “New Atheists” were once evangelicals & were mostly convinced otherwise by more aggressive tactics, I’m going to still demand M&K present actual evidence that it’s an ineffective approach. I’d also like to know why misleading people becomes acceptable when one feels it’s persuasive to do so? Seems dishonest to me. Is the Earth 6000-10,000 years old or is the Bible DEAD WRONG? If you answer that the Bible is scientifically wrong on that point, I guess that makes you one of those militant “New Atheist” who can’t let religion and science co-exist.