22
Jan
10

Accomodationism’s friend, the Authoritarian

They sit so nicely together, in a lovely alliterative phrase; don’t they almost seem meant for each other? I will outline how the argument for accomodationism utilizes, quite effectively, the contradictory ideas humans can hold as an example of how “religion and science are compatible.” The argument goes as follows:

If science and religion are not compatible, then it would be impossible for religious scientists to exist. Religious scientists exist, thus science and religion are compatible.

This ignores the well known fact that within a single human can be highly incompatible ideas. Many wonderful examples of this come from the most split-brained of them all, religious fundamentalists. Many of them believe the Bible is the error-free literal word of a supreme being, yet few have read it in its entirety to know this first hand. When discrepancies are presented and demonstrated, they are often met with a non-denial denial, often explained as being a result of “different perspectives,” or “the message is the same,” or “these are just metaphors and parables.” Indeed, the error-free word of YHWH certainly contains contradictions within it. The best one I can think of is “Does God lie?”

Compare Hebrews 6:18 to 1 Kings 22:23 for the answers; it seems to be “no” and “yes” respectively.

I am not sure precisely how these two would be rectified, but it certainly doesn’t matter; they are both absolutely true statements given to the authors of the bible by the deity himself. It seems this deity owes quite a bit of his personality to that of his creators. Being both unable to lie and frequently deceiving seems slightly contradictory.

The best example of self-contradiction I can think of is how proud these individuals generally are about living in a country which supports “freedom of speech” but are the first ones to call for censorship. All humans can hold inconsistent ideas; I have found several in my own thinking which I have subsequently purged. (If you find more, please, inform me) It seems, however, that most fundamentalist groups never rectify their own ideas with one another. The argument that because religious scientists exist means religion and science are compatible is just like saying censorship is compatible with freedom of speech because people exist which endorse both. The point is, humans can hold a wide repertoire of beliefs and ideas which flagrantly disagree with one another. It’s called compartmentalization, and it is well supported by observation.

As far as the notion that “religions will always exist, so we should just get along” goes, I would certainly expect religion to stay around for a very long time. I also expect it to change quite drastically (as it already has) from its present condition. I’m not sure which is more ironic, that the inconsistencies within human thinking are used to argue that science and religion are compatible, or that this pseudo-compatablity is explained by modern science…

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3 Responses to “Accomodationism’s friend, the Authoritarian”


  1. January 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    So, you can take the action of purging inconsistencies and be an example of monolithic truth, or commit yourself to efficient compartmentalization and rationalization.

    What we need is an Ikea of the mind. Affordable furniture for efficient compartmentalization. Hmmm. What source the rationalization? Perhaps a cerebral equivalent of Toys-R-Us. I am on the edge of being both clever and trite, but I just can’t pull this one together. Someone else take a shot.

    Whatever you do, don’t purge all of your inconsistencies. You could end up nailed to a cross, metaphorically. Those who do the nailing would already have you compartmentalized, with a big sack of rationalizations at hand.

    Your thinking is not only troublesome for religion, but I suspect your way would grossly damage the tabloid and talk show trade. Still, it might work. A gadfly might earn a nice stipend, just to go away.

    Enjoy your retirement in whatever undisclosed tropical paradise, without Internet access.

    Mike

  2. 2 jaredcormier
    January 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Well, I don’t think macroscopic reality can exist in two states at once, unlike electrons. As far as effective compartmentalization goes, any time you separate ideas which seem, on the surface, to be contradictory, you miss the opportunity to expand your knowledge and discover if a discrepancy really exists or if this is simply a case of incomplete information. This is what I mean by “purging inconsistencies.” The notion of compartmentalized ideas is acceptable if one is not too interested in understanding reality.

    As far as undisclosed tropical locations, I’m down for the Seychelles.


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