Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

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Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:38 pm

Covered yesterday on P.Z. Myers blog:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011 ... p#comments

Dear comrades:

Although we may diverge in our philosophies and actions toward religion, we share a common goal: the promulgation of good science education in Britain and America--indeed, throughout the world. Many of us, like myself and Richard Dawkins, spend a lot of time teaching evolution to the general public. There's little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists. This apparently comes from your idea that if evolutionists also espouse atheism, it will hurt the cause of science education and turn people away from evolution. I think this is misguided for several reasons, including a complete lack of evidence that your idea is true, but also your apparent failure to recognize that creationism is a symptom of religion (and not just fundamentalist religion), and will be with us until faith disappears. That is one reason--and, given the pernicious effect of religion, a minor one--for the fact that we choose to fight on both fronts.

The official policy of your organizations--certainly of the NCSE--is apparently to cozy up to religion. You have "faith projects," you constantly tell us to shut up about religion, and you even espouse a kind of theology which claims that faith and science are compatible. Clearly you are going to continue with these activities, for you've done nothing to change them in the face of criticism. And your employees, past and present, will continue to heap invective on New Atheists and tar people like Richard Dawkins with undeserved opprobrium.

We will continue to answer the misguided attacks by people like Josh Rosenau, Roger Stanyard, and Nick Matzke so long as they keep mounting those attacks. I don't expect them to abate, but I'd like your organizations to recognize this: you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism. And I doubt that those attacks have converted many Christians or Muslims to the cause of evolution. This is a shame, because we all recognize that the NCSE has done some great things in the past and, I hope, will--like the new BCSE--continue do great things in the future.

There is a double irony in this situation. First, your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists. Second, your assertion that only you have the requisite communication skills to promote evolution is belied by the observation that you have, by your own ham-handed communications, alienated many people who are on the side of good science and evolution. You have lost your natural allies. And this is not just speculation, for those allies were us, and we're telling you so.

Sincerely,
Jerry Coyne


http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com ... en-letter/

I notice Roger gets a mention in passing.

If Atheist scientists really want to drive undecidedc Christians, into the YEC camp then this, surely is the correct way to go about it. Seems that according to some, science=Atheism and that's that.

What the Hell are Coyne, Myers, and Rosehouse attempting to do here ? More gift horses for Ken Ham and AiG.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:42 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:What the Hell are Coyne, Myers, and Rosehouse attempting to do here ?
Make a mountain out of a mole hill.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Roger Stanyard » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:43 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:What the Hell are Coyne, Myers, and Rosehouse attempting to do here ? More gift horses for Ken Ham and AiG.


We don't entirely know Peter but this is very definetly an attack on both the BCSE and the NCSE by the "New Atheists" including Richard Dawkins. It's very personal and nasty as well. Basically they want the NCSE and the BCSE to back "New Atheism" and many of the people signing the letter are very hostile to us including and working with people who are religious. I've also been in private email correspondence with Dawkins about him libelling me on WEIT. I have ended up with no respect for Richard Dawkins whatsoever.

I don't know whether we need to take the "letter" seriously. It looks to have been cobbled together at virtually no notice and signed by no more than a group of posters on WEIT. Maybe I'm wrong but it looks to be very amateur. It could be a crude attempt to reposition the "New Atheists" but., more likely, it was the ill-thought out one=man band output of Jerry Coyne with a load of "blokes on the Internet" jumping on the bandwagon..

Whatever you do, Peter, don't try and "debate" on WEIT about the issue. It's a kangaroo court baying for blood. One of the most frightening things I've seen in a long time. I lost the best part of a night's sleep over it such was the utter viciousness and self-righteousness. One of the nastyest of the lot turns out to be Richard Dawkins. Did himself no favours by walking into the snake pit there and made a life long enemy of me as well.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:20 pm

I still say they're trying to make a mountain out of a mole-hill. It all blew up over very little and is now "debating" nothing at all. Evidently fast for something to do. Like cracking the nutters.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Michael » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:20 pm

I am stunned. I will go back to ploughboy 8) 8)
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby dannyno » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:38 pm

I hadn't realised you were still going, so I guess there's no such thing as bad publicity.

I'm really surprised you think that Coyne et al want NCSE and BCSE to adopt "new atheism", whatever that is. In fact, they don't expect you to do that, and have said so explicitly. Several times.

They don't want you to attack religion, they want you to stop - as they see it - attacking atheists for attacking religion.

What upsets them is that there seems to be little recognition of that issue and why it is important.

Dan
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:42 pm

Whatever you do, Peter, don't try and "debate" on WEIT about the issue. It's a kangaroo court baying for blood. One of the most frightening things I've seen in a long time. I lost the best part of a night's sleep over it such was the utter viciousness and self-righteousness. One of the nastyest of the lot turns out to be Richard Dawkins. Did himself no favours by walking into the snake pit there and made a life long enemy of me as well.


Yep, noticed it got very nasty indeed Roger. Also read Dawkins' post on yourself and the BCSE. Some very nasty comments about Nick Matzke as well. Dreadful.

Personally, Dawkins has really contributed very little to this, other than to make an ass of himself in front of creationists, and alienating a lot of Christians by writing the god delusion. Neither have done anything for the pro science cause, in my opinion

Likewise, in the US it hasn't been Coyne and Myers that have been involved in the court cases (particularly Dover) but Ken Miller and those horrible accomodationists, the NCSE. I'll tell you, being cross examined in a court is not a pleasant experience.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:52 pm

They don't want you to attack religion, they want you to stop - as they see it - attacking atheists for attacking religion.


Well, as far as I'm aware Dan, the BCSE is entirely neutral on the subject, welcoming into their ranks people of any religion and none.

and that's how it should be. Science shouldn't be used to promote either religion, or Atheism, since it takes absolutely no position on the supernatural. That's the problem I have with Coyne, Myers, Dawkins and Rosenhouse. They're using science to promote Atheism and attack Christianity. The NCSE are quite correct in pointing this out.

All it does is hand a gift to the YECs, while at the same time forcing undecided Christians into the creationist camp. Coyne's stratagey isn't ging to work I'm afraid and in the long run, will do far more harm than good for the pro science cause.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:57 pm

Michael wrote:I am stunned. I will go back to ploughboy 8) 8)


Indeed Michael.

As you once said, most Christians would rather choke on Ham than vomit on Dawkins.

Some of the recent CIS newsfeeds I've received certainly bears this out.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby psiloiordinary » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:24 pm

Dan,

Can you point out to us where the BCSE has had a go at atheists?

I think the closest I get in the talks I have done when I point out that creationists quote Dawkins (fairly - no quote mining or twisting) as part of their recruitment/conversion process.

This is not even me offering an opinion and certainly not telling him to stop - I just point out that this is what goes on.

And what's more it worked when I saw it - see this;

http://bcseweb.blogspot.com/2009/12/voy ... -15th.html

BTW have a look at this - which is just going live now showing a joined up approach in action;

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/cri ... ience.html

We already have at least two Anglican vicars supporting this and hope to gather a lot of support across the whole spectrum of non believers and believers in the next few weeks -watch this space.

Or even join in and give us a hand.

:-)

Regards,

Psi
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Michael » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:54 pm

The Coyne/Dawkins appraoch will simply advance creationism, as "evolutionary" Christians will be rejected by many Christians who clearly object to atheism.

To get rid of all religion will fail without doubt and Coyne/Dawkins will simply flare up a culture wars scenario. There are already signs of this in the anglican church
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby a_haworthroberts » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:57 pm

Talking of Dawkins, this is a new science clip. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00gj8fr

I've just watched the Derren Brown programme on Channel 4. It was intended as an attack on the apparent deliberate deceptions of faith healers - rather than on faith per se.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:46 pm

dannyno wrote:They don't want you to attack religion, they want you to stop - as they see it - attacking atheists for attacking religion.
What upsets them is that there seems to be little recognition of that issue and why it is important.
Dan
There isn't any recognition of that issue because it isn't an issue. It's a figment of someone's imagination, somewhere in the blogosphere. It never happened.
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby cathy » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:06 pm

I've just watched the Derren Brown programme on Channel 4. It was intended as an attack on the apparent deliberate deceptions of faith healers - rather than on faith per se.
Me too. And Derren Brown made clear at the end and when the fake faith healer finished that it WAS NOT and attack on people who believed in God or christians but on money making scams that exploited them. Belief in God fine, scamming and nuttiness not. Derren Brown is a confirmed atheist. If it had been Dawkins I can't help the end would be different-some slagging off of religion. If it had been the Dawkins website it would have been very different. Derren Brown is the sort of atheist I now aspire to be! Though minus the talent obviously.

I don't know whether we need to take the "letter" seriously. It looks to have been cobbled together at virtually no notice and signed by no more than a group of posters on WEIT. Maybe I'm wrong but it looks to be very amateur. It could be a crude attempt to reposition the "New Atheists" but., more likely, it was the ill-thought out one=man band output of Jerry Coyne with a load of "blokes on the Internet" jumping on the bandwagon..

Are you bovvered?
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Re: Jerry Coyne has another go at the NCSE and BCSE

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:28 pm

Kind of half watched the gene code this evening Cathy (will watch it more at length later). No one preaching Atheism (or godlessness, as Myers puts it) at all. Just good science (the same with chemistry, a volatile history which followerd it).

That's exactly how it should be.

Science without any strings attached is what the creationists hate. They love Dawkins.
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