Monday, February 15, 2010

Reverend Jerry still working hard to purify the race

It has been a while since I checked in on Jerry Coyne, but I see he is as muddleheaded as ever. In a post describing whether religion was a genetic adaptation or a byproduct, he writes:
I’m not sure exactly what data would support one hypothesis over the other, and in the end, if you can’t settle the issue the question becomes scientifically uninteresting.
He is correct. What is amusing is that this is exactly what I have stated, repeatedly, even on his blog until his blog stopped accepting my comments, about the issue of the incompatibility of science and religion. That is: unless you provide some data—unless you can do the experiment and demonstrate the effect—it is scientifically uninteresting. In other words, it’s an opinion. But in the incompatibility question Coyne doesn’t see the lack of data as a problem—there he has argued that the alleged incompatibility is a fait accompli. Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle. Or perhaps: Mr. Horse, here is a nice big ole pair of blinders.

Coyne goes on to discuss the origin of morality. With his repulsive regularity he must accuse someone of “faithism” (which if you don’t know is a kind of a derogatory N-word whose invention he commissioned) . This time it is science blogger Josh Rosenau. (Rosenau works for the anti-ID National Center for Science Education, a group that played a huge rule in the Dover case. He is, however, outside Coyne’s circle of orthodoxy. Coyne is the Robespierre of New Atheism.)

Rosenau the Apostate writes, paraphrasing here, that theists should not be troubled by theories of moral universalism. He is correct—and I’ll come back to that.

Coyne, criticizing Rosenau, writes:
But that’s not what religious scriptures say, nor what a huge number of the faithful really think. It always amuses me when accommodationists, especially the atheistic ones, tell religious people what they’re supposed to believe, or where they’re supposed to find comfort.
Rosenau: tells us that we should not be troubled. Bad.
Coyne: tells us what we think. Acceptable.

Figure out that calculus.

In fact, Rosenau and Coyne are both guilty of not knowing what we think. If they did, they would know that for Christians it is not the presence of morality in atheists or people of other faiths or primitive peoples that would be problematic—it would be its absence that would present difficulty. Go look up “common grace” and get back to me.

"accommodationists" is kind of like the "colored people" or "negro" version of the word faithiest.

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