Cultural accommodationists and religion; what about 'creationist' politicians?
    By Hank Campbell | August 26th 2011 01:50 PM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Josh Rosenau at Scienceblogs tackles some criticism leveled at people who don't think all religious politicians (and voters) should be met with scorn and derision, a la the Richard Dawkins way.

    The topic is, of course, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who plays to the fundamentalist base among Republicans by noting that evolution 'has some gaps', a wink to religious folks who don't believe in it at all (though they are few, and nearly as many Democrats, as I noted).

    Hardcore atheists aside, the vast swath in the middle are happy to let religious people have their beliefs - as long as they don't try to teach it in science class.  Others on the militant fringes are not so happy and have leveled criticisms.
    But what about other "accommodationists"? Are we all milquetoasts on Perry's anti-science remarks? Hardly. As you probably know, I'm one of the more vocal people who get tagged as "accommodationists," and I've been rather vocal about Perry's statement… Perry's creationist ideas were as wrong and inappropriate for science classes 27 years ago as they are today."

    That's not "psycho-mojo." It's not passivity and silence. In my private life, including this blog, I'm happy to state unequivocally that Rick Perry should never be President of anything, even his local kennel club. Talking to reporters on NCSE's dime, IRS regulations forbid me from commenting on political campaigns, so saying that his claims about science education are nonsense is about as far as I can go in that setting.
    And that's a pretty good place to be.  NCSE exists to defend science education, not engage in a holy war against religion.   A talk by Genie Scott from there is always poignant and no religious person feels like they are under assault - instead she often notes their earliest proponents were fellow religious people who didn't want to have to spend their Saturdays and Sundays undoing one sectarian viewpoint taught Monday through Friday.

    Rosenau is defending another outreach advocate, Jamie Vernon, from criticism by P.Z. Myers but proper defense and criticism should apply to anyone - while Republicans are overt in embracing religious groups and issuing vague statements about science, Democrats are not more ethical for being coy on the anti-science positions of its party.

    Will President Obama deny the anti-vaccine movement - overwhelmingly Democrats - or the anti-GMO contingent, anti-animal research and plenty of others?   No, nor will a Democrat running for President proclaim their atheism and castigate religion.

    When it comes to religion, it may be that Perry is more ethical for issuing an honest position than Democrats, even if few Republicans are excited about the GOP in 2012 if he is leading it.  It would just be nice if he accepted science.

    What do accommodationists do about creationist politicians? - Josh Roseanu, Scienceblogs.com

    Richard Dawkins Takes The Crotchety Old Man Tactic To Communicate Science To Rick Perry. Will It Work? - Jamie Vernon, Discover.com