Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ask Jerry

Over on Jerry Coyne's blog, Coyne posted another "accomodationists suck" essay. This time Coyne presents Robert Wright before the Tribunal. I'm not much interested in Robert Wright, or Robert Wright's books, or Coyne's opinion about Robert Wright, or Coyne's opinion about Robert Wright's recent New York Times op-ed: A Grand Bargain Over Evolution.

Coyne is, after all a one trick pony. Religion: bad. Accomodationism aka "fathiesm": bad, perhaps even worse in the you-really-oughta-know-better sense. New Atheism: the cat's meow.

What was interesting was a comment Coyne made in his post. Speaking about Wright's The Evolution of God, Coyne wrote:
My critique of Wright's book concentrated on his theology, on the structure of his argument (which I consider unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific), and above all on the supposed "empirical evidence" for divine guidance of human biological and moral evolution. (Boldface emphasis added.)
Now we all know that Coyne and his homies regularly make a certain claim about religion and science. So I asked, in the comments, in a variety of ways, the following question:


Is your argument regarding the incompatibility of science and religion

A) falsifiable, or
B) unscientific

If it is falsifiable, what is the experiment?

To which I got this response from Jerry Coyne:
Nope, what I said was “unfalsifiable” was Wright's theory in his book, which is that God has promoted the increase in human morality, acting through theology, over time. And what I meant by this was that there is no evidence Wright construes all evidence as support for his theory. It is of course falsifiable by the facts, and I consider it falsified.
Can you parse this? And can you parse it in a way that shows how it answers the question?


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