He has uttered the single dumbest explanation for the alleged incompatibility of science and religion. Ever.
To set the stage, Jerry has the vapors that acclaimed cosmologist (and agnostic) Martin Rees has accepted this year's $1.6 million Templeton award. Maybe Jerry is apoplectic because a scientist with impeccable research credentials won the award as opposed to say, a science journalist. Or maybe his head would have exploded even more if someone like Chris Mooney won. Hard to say--rationality is not one of Jerry's strong suits.
So I came across this topical Science article by Sara Reardon. She quotes Jerry:
If there's no conflict between science and religion, why do I still deal with creationists?As the saying goes: the stupid, it burns. I think I have quoted before the famously dense anti-evolution argument: If evolution is true, how do you explain PYGMIES + DWARFS? Well, Jerry's argument is no better: if religion is compatible with science, how do you explain CREATIONISTS + BIBLE BELIEVERS?
This argument is so bad that I assumed Jerry was misquoted. Nope--he has the same article linked on his site, with the same quote displayed.
Notice what Jerry is not saying. He is not arguing that dealing with creationists demonstrates that creationism and science are incompatible--he is making the much stronger claim that the fact that he, Jerry Coyne, has to deal with creationists implies that science is incompatible (which is what he means by "in conflict") with religion.
There is no logic the takes you from:
1) Jerry Coyne has to "deal" with creationists, to
2) Science and religion are incompatible
Thank goodness most (all?) theologians are far better at constructing sound arguments.