Accomodationists v. Obnoxionists: Physicist Sean Carroll Coins a New Term in Reply to Those New Atheists Who Call Him a “Faitheist”

For the New Atheists, physicist Sean Carroll suggests the word “obnoxionists”:

The irony is that the pro-obnoxious crowd (obnoxionists?) is ultimately making the same mistake as the accommodationist crowd. Namely: blurring the lines between the truth of a claim and the manner in which the claim is presented. Accommodationists slide from “we can work together, in a spirit of mutual respect, with religious people on issues about which we agree” to “we should pretend that science and religion are compatible.” But obnoxionists tend to slide from “we disagree with those people” to “we should treat those people with contempt.” Neither move is really logically supportable.

My take on whether science and religion are compatible is here. And here’s a link to Carroll’s new book.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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One Response to Accomodationists v. Obnoxionists: Physicist Sean Carroll Coins a New Term in Reply to Those New Atheists Who Call Him a “Faitheist”

  1. scaryreasoner says:

    As a proud obnoxionist, I think there is room for both approaches. Some people are going to be put off by the obnoxionist approach, and be more likely to be convinced by a gentler approach. But there are definitely people who respond to the obnoxionist approach. For example, here is one:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/anqaa/i_am_an_atheist_and_i_owe_it_to_another_atheist/

    It is often said that you cannot reason a person out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into.

    That’s where the obnoxionist method comes in and kicks them in the ass and pisses them off, and makes them want to fight, and to look around for weapons to fight with. Sometimes they reach for reason, and though *you* can’t reason for another person, that person can sometimes reason for themselves.

    I have to come down on the side of the obnoxionists.

    Religion has been winning for thousands and thousands of years. Lately, it’s been taking a beating. The younger generation of doubters does not suffer the isolation of previous generations — 5 seconds with google will show them that they are not alone in their doubts and provide them with ammo to defend those doubts. This is a *huge* difference from how it’s been in the past.

    Nobody much complains about the “obnoxionists” who attack Scientology or Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster. The major religions are either true, or just as false as Bigfoot, the LN Monster, or Scientology.

    Obnoxionists? Sure, call us what you like. It doesn’t make us any less right.

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