Thursday, January 03, 2013

Ψ+ (For you, Jerry!)

Jerry Coyne cannot win the argument on the incompatibility of science and faith. He admits he loses 1 on the only real data: that there exists religious scientists--and therefore it is manifestly true that their religion does not prevent them from doing good science. To explain this, ah, inconvenience, cue woo phase one: it is because they compartmentalize (which is psychobabble and, even if it weren't, it is irrelevant.) Or woo phase two: religious scientists live with cognitive dissonance, a "diagnosis" that explains nothing and everything.

Jerry has never addressed two possible tests to his, um, theory:

1) Present Jerry with a set of papers from peer-reviewed journals, half from believers and half from unbelievers. His Coyneness would then use the postulated incompatibility to separate the papers accurately.

2) Jerry might suggest an experiment that religious scientists could never perform because of the Coyne Incompatibility. If he can come up with just one--that would be irrefutable proof of his claim.

But Jerry Coyne is a thoroughly dishonest piece of work.

Instead he offers this definition of what he means by incompatibility, which is his woo pièce de résistance:
My one comment: it’s crucial in these arguments to define “compatibility”, and it makes a big difference whether you conceive of science/faith compatibility as “the ability to do both or accept both at the same time” (the common argument), or—as I do—”the comparative ability of science and religion, using their respective philosophies and methodologies, to discern (as they claim to be able) the truth about the universe.”
What the hell does that mean? He offers no observable (scientific) effect of the Coyne Incompatibility, just some subjective woo.

What an airhead.

The truth is simple. Some things can be incompatible with religion. Atheism, for example, is trivially incompatible with religion. But nothing, nothing at all is incompatible with science. Science is a method. A set of rules on how you take data and how you report results. That's it. It's a method, not a philosophy or a religion; its practitioners are skilled technicians, not priests.  The method does not care if you are:

  • Atheist
  • Christian
  • Muslim
  • Stoic
  • Transgendered
  • A mass murderer
  • Libertarian
  • Communist
  • etc.
Science does dot even care if you "believe in science." It is agnostic about everything. It is incompatible with nothing.

I have a solution!

I think, following the lead of Atheism Plus, Jerry should start the cult of Science Plus. With its own iconography:  Ψ+. He could define it as science plus secularism. Then he would finally have something that is incompatible with faith.

You don't have to thank me Jerry.

1 Not admits as in what an honest person would do, but effectively admits by pooh-poohing the relevance of religious scientists to the discussion of the compatibility of science and faith. Just think about that. And, in an attempt to have his cake and eat it too, this hypocrite of a man will: a) Out of the one side of his mouth argue the the existence of religious scientists is irrelevant. b) Out of the other side argue that the fact that 93% of the members of the National Academy of Scientists are atheists is supremely relevant. Just think about that, too.


  1. Yeah, Coyne's 'incompatibility' seems like the most bizarre copout. I think you have him dead on on this one - looking forward to what Mike Gene has to say about it too, if anything.

  2. Atheism, for example, is trivially incompatible with religion.

    However, do you really mean that? What about Buddhism? Maybe you mean atheism is incompatible with God belief.

    I mean, especially since guys like Dennett like to define Stalinism and Communism as religions or proto-religions.

  3. Glad to know Flat Earthism is compatible with science. Thanks!

  4. BeingItself,,

    You never tire of embarrassing yourself.

    Let me spell it out. Someone could be a YEC and a flat earther. He could hate science.

    Nevertheless, he could walk into a lab, conduct an experiment properly, and publish the results in a peer-reviewed journal. All the time believeing what he had just done was garbage. The method, science, is not sentient. It doesn't know that in this instance it was being mocked. The science of this YEC, flat-earther, science-hater would be indistinguishable, in terms of its legitimacy, from anyone else's science--even PZ's if he actually did any. Science is nonjudgmental.

    I don't expect you will get this--I expect you will either go away or continue to submit snarky comments that you actually believe are profound.

  5. It's ironic that you write "science is just a method" on your computer... using the internet. If you really think "science is just a method", why don't you go live out in the wilderness and live off the land. You'll soon see that science is not "just a method".

  6. Evey Solara,

    Does that even make sense to you? Does it actually seem like a cogent response? Do you know what "ironic" means?

    For chuckles, tell me where anything I wrote indicates that I do not believe that science has had enormous benefit to society?

    You are confusing me with a science denier. Or you are confusing science-worship with science. Or both.

    Do tell me, since you take exception to "science is just a method" (By the way it even has a name: The, um, Scientific Method) what, in your view, is science?

    Run back to (or seek out) Jerry Coyne's site. You'd fit right in.

  7. I think the cultists of Gnu play too many table-top RPGs. They sound like wannabe GMs yelling about imaginary class restrictions.

    "No, no, you're of the religious class! Only non-religious can equip technological tools! Why aren't you listening to me!?"

    Coyne's view is inane, and the fact that he's had to wash down the 'science is incompatible with religion' claim to the weird mush he has should shake Gnus up if they thought about it for any length of time. So naturally, it won't be shaking them up.

  8. I wrote a longer response but its lost in the ether. Anyway, if you reread my response you will realize that science isn't Judy a method, it's about respect for evidence and intellectual honesty, that's why it's such a benefit for society. It delivers the goods while you talk to yourself in what you call prayers. Science is about respect for evidence and intellectual honesty, none of which has provided any support for gods

    1. Judy = just thanks iphone

  9. And oh please spare me the mg gnu cynic shtick of the subjectivity of evidence, it doesn't hold up to scrutiny

  10. Are you mentally ill? Who's talking about the subjectivity of evidence?

    You are lecturing a nuclear physicist, someone who is actually unlocking the secrets of the universe with science, about what science

    This would be hilarious, but I think you are off your meds and need help. Seriously.

  11. How could you believe he's unlocking the secrets of the universe when he says science is just a method?

  12. The way I sweep my apartments floor is just a method it doesn't unlock shit

  13. And fuck you Jared, I take prescribed meds that doesn't mean jack shit asshole

    1. Well, now I kind of feel bad for arguing with someone who really is mentally ill. I'm out.

  14. You are a truly stupid person. That's not even a coherent thought, but I'll try to respond anyway. The method in which you sweep your floors accomplishes exactly what that method was designed to do. It gets your floors clean. The scientific method is designed to...wait for science! You seem to think that your personal beliefs have something to do with the outcome of the method you use to accomplish a task.

    Using your "sweeping" example (let's face it, you aren't going to understand much beyond janitorial work), explain how a certain belief could alter the outcome of sweeping the floor with a defined sweeping method.

    1. No you regarded cunt, scientific inquiry is about people doing the best they can to understand reality, which you are I denial of

  15. In denial of, retarded not regarded, shouldn't debate on my phone;)

  16. Evey Solara,

    You are missing the boat. Your very definition "doing the best they can to understand reality" is not science. If I do an experiment, analyze the data, compare to theory and publish the results, that's science. It doesn't matter if if I was "doing my best" or what my motives are, noble or otherwise. Read the scientific method. It has to do with honesty and integrity in the process, that's all. It says nothing, nothing at all about the beliefs and motivations of the scientist. Furthermore, this is a feature of science, not a bug.

  17. I think one of the reasons such a large percent of the NAS are atheists is because many atheists routinely bully and belittle anyone who is not an atheist, and try to intimidate them into silence (which may be working.) How many of the scientists of different religious persuasions are up for constant insults, mockery, and contempt?

    But on the religious side of the fence, I hope we would show not only the courage to stand up to the insults, and the honesty to set the record straight, but also show better grace and better treatment of fellow human beings, by not returning all the mockery and insults. If we're religious, we're allowed to take seriously that part about "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you".

    Respect for evidence and intellectual honesty are things that everyone can agree on. For my own part, I like conversations that are more "How can you believe (x)" (asking it honestly, curious what the answer is), instead of just flame-wars.

    Take care & God bless