Thursday, November 05, 2009

Jerry Coyne is so predictable and boring...

Now he has written a six point manifesto on his unholy of unholies: accommodationism .

It is standard boilerplate crapola—but nobody can do it quite as badly as Coyne.

He fails, epically, in point one:
1. I see faith and science as epistemically incompatible, though of course some religious people can accept evolution and some scientists can be religious. This cognitive dissonance does not, however, show anything more than that people can simultaneously hold in their heads two philosophically incompatible approaches to the world.
As is always, always the case the explain-everything explain-nothing catchphrase cognitive dissonance is misused. It doesn't mean what Coyne thinks it means.

This is what it really means:

Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable sense of tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.

I am perhaps going out on a limb in assuming that none of the religious scientists on Coyne's radar has contacted him and fessed up to "feeling an uncomfortable tension."

Jerry? Hi, Ken Miller here. You know my love of science and my Catholicism? Well don't tell anybody but I'm feeling really uncomfortable holding on to both.

We therefore can safely conclude that Coyne is rather stupidly using this incorrect definition:

Cognitive dissonance according to Jerry Coyne is a feeling of annoyance produced in Jerry Coyne when Jerry Coyne encounters someone that holds two ideas that Jerry Coyne believes are in conflict. Jerry Coyne is the supreme arbiter of all who suffer from cognitive dissonance.

If I too may use a customized definition of cognitive dissonance, then I declare that since Jerry Coyne holds two views, 1) appreciation of science and 2) atheism-- two views that I find to be in conflict, then by the same manner in which Jerry makes his incorrect diagnosis, I declare Jerry Coyne to be afflicted with severe cognitive dissonance.

Isn't that easy?

His points two and three are, as mentioned, standard. He tells us what he thinks the NCSE should do. That is certainly his right—although why they should listen to him is something of a mystery. He tells us that he likes the likes of Ken Miller, but reserves the right to criticize him—as if that right was somehow in jeopardy. Really Jerry, do you think any religious person gives a rat's ass about your criticism of religion? The paranoid claim of new atheists that "we aren't allowed to criticize" is utter nonsense.

I agree with his point four:
4. I see no conclusive evidence that vocal atheism is forcing Americans to choose between science and religion, pushing them back into the creationist corner.
And would even make it stronger: there is also no conclusive evidence that vocal atheism is causing anyone to lose their faith. In as much as it causes reluctant atheists to emerge from the closet—that's a good thing for all—a win-win.

Points five and six are mostly redundant, self-aggrandizing statements about how Jerry and Dawkins are out to save America and the world for rational thought. The name dropping reminds me of an email I once got from Dembski informing me, in effect, that people such as himself, Wells, Johnson, etc were laying the groundwork and everyone else should follow or get out of the way.

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