Today he writes on What does it take to blame religion?
His tactic is vintage Coyne: the strawman. Nobody does it more often and with less skill. He does this all the time. His favorite self-made foil is the "omnibenevolent god" strawman. He'll make, every so often, the child's argument: 1) God is omnibenevolent. 2) There is suffering. 3) Therefore there is no god, at least no omnipotent god.
Gee, never heard that one! At least not since the playground.
It doesn't matter that people point out to him that god is not omnibenevolent nor portrayed as omnibenevolent. He ignores that—it's just too inconvenient and doesn't fit his immature world view.
Today his strawman is the “see no evil” man of faith. That is, he argues that people of faith—apart from maybe (and reluctantly) the Crusades, refuse to acknowledge evil done in the name of religion.
What fantasy world does this boy live in?
We’re all familiar with those people who claim that no foul deed, no murder, no injury can be laid at the feet of faithOh. The dreaded "those people". Who are those people Jerry? Is this like when David Duke talks about "those people"? How many of "those people" are there Coyne? Personally I don't know any. I don't know even one person of faith who would argue that no foul deed, no murder, no injury can be laid at the feet of faith.
In Christianity and Judaism some of our greatest heroes—King David, the apostle Paul—murdered. Paul, for one, surely murdered (as Saul) in the name of faith.
That acknowledgment--that crimes are committed in the name of faith, extends to the present. We all agree that people commit heinous crimes in the name of faith. We would argue, at least in the case of Christianity, that what they do is horribly misguided—but we are not "those people" Jerry.
Again, who are "those people"?
Jerry gives a bizarre example. Apparently "those people" will say this:
The Protestant/Catholic fracas in Northern Ireland? A historical squabble—religion was just a “label” for political opponents.Nobody argues that it is just a label. Nobody will argue that the respective faith’s have not played a role in Northern Ireland. But pointing out that there are tribal elements to that conflict—that for example it is probably the rare case when Protestants attack Catholics with shouts of "It is not justification by faith, it is justification by faith alone, papist!" does not mean you are absolving religion of any culpability. You are pointing out that it is slightly more nuanced that you (Jerry) seem to have the wherewithal to grasp.
Evil men can not only commit crimes in the name of faith, but can also co-opt faith to justify their hate. And--and I know this is hard for you to comprehend Jerry--there is a difference. Some with evil intentions also, at times, co-opt science to rationalize their hatred.
"Those people" indeed.
What do you propose we do with "those people" Jerry?
Jerry also expresses the recurring Gnu Atheist Fantasy:
And, as I said, people consider it far more insulting to criticize their faith than their politics.Sorry Jerry, but this is the consummate Gnu Atheist delusion of grandeur. In reality most of us don't give a rat's ass if you criticize our faith. We in fact (as a group) have probably not heard of many of you (especially you) and, if we have, we are more likely to mock you than to consider your fatuousness as insulting.
Jerry then gives a list of atrocities, some of which are legitimately placed at the feet of religion, a few of which, such as "The deaths of children whose parents relied on faith healing" are even problems in some outlier Christian denominations.
Some are just made up Jerry-woo, such as:
The horrible and often lifelong guilt instilled in children by Catholic priests who scare them with thoughts of hell and constant admonitions about sinYou know this is a huge problem, as opposed to a canard, exactly how, Jerry? Because some commenter's deconversion story blames Catholic guilt? Because you know children are coloring scenes of brutal eternal torment in Sunday School?
Or because it sounds right, like "religion and science are incompatible" sounds right. So you unscientifically accept it using the only acceptable methodology outside of the science, the irrefutable "proof by sounding reasonable to Jerry Coyne."
Another religious crime of the century:
Sexual fear and loathingReally Jerry, are you out of your mind? Are you, apart from your biology, stuck in the sixth grade? Is your biology some sort of savant skill for you, and in everything you are this excruciatingly stupid?
Well Jerry, you can list atrocities done in the name of faith. But I think you lose the numbers game—stupid as it is to play. Without question the most murderous regimes in history are the godless regimes of Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Furthermore Nazism, with its master plan to persecute Christianity, was also arguably godless—although clever enough to co-opt religious themes when necessary. The eugenics movement had some Christian supporters, but ultimately—despite every denial you'd care to make—was fueled not by theology but a godless co-opting of evolution.
I guess that's enough of a rant. One of "those people" has to get back to work.