As we have seen, David Barash is a professor from The University of Washington (a public university) who abuses his authority in order to proselytize for atheism in his science class. Barash’s classroom antics are too much even for Jerry Coyne.
Coyne notes that the “Religion and Science are Incompatible” argument is a theological argument and has no place in the science classroom:
I praised him for his public proclamation of science’s incompatibility with faith (after all, I have a book on the subject coming out in May), but considered it inappropriate for Barash to engage in what is essentially theology in a public-university science class.
Coyne is thinking clearly on this issue.
Yet Barash has privately assured him there is a “secular purpose” for his preaching in the science classroom:
Atheist activist Jerry Coyne has a new book coming out entitled, “Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.” Coyne has thus officially embraced a fringe view among scientists. The extreme, fringe nature of this view can easily be seen from the simple fact that it is rejected by various mainstream scientific organizations, including the National Center for Science Education, the National Academies, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. And this poses a serious problem for Coyne -if his argument that Science and Religion Are Incompatible is so powerful, why is it that the mainstream scientific community doesn’t buy it? Why is it that the majority of those who do buy into the Incompatibility Argument just happen to be the usual extremist anti-religionists who make up the New Atheist Movement?
Coyne has an explanation for the fringe status of his views.
Someone used one of Sam Harris’s quotes and turned it into an internet meme:
Aslan and Greenwald—a famous “scholar” and a famous “journalist”—are engaged in a campaign of pure defamation. They are consciously misleading their readers and increasing my security concerns in the process.
The irony. Atheists commonly use this tactic against religious people – take quotes from religious leaders or religious books out of context and makes memes to portray religion in a very bad light. When this happens, atheists respond with laughter and applause. Of course, when the very same tactic is used against atheists, suddenly it becomes bad.
But the hypocrisy runs deeper.
It’s been a tough year for Richard Dawkins. First, his autobiography (Part 1) was a flop. Then his documentary was a flop. Then, there were all the times he made of fool of himself with his radical tweets. Then, he got caught trying to sell himself and had to go back and quietly change his website. Feminists successfully tagged him as a sexist and more and more atheists just want him to go away.
With that context in mind, take a look at Jerry Coyne’s book promo listed over at Amazon:
Extending the bestselling works of Richard Dawson, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens, he demolishes the claims of religion to provide verifiable “truth” by subjecting those claims to the same tests we use to establish truth in science.
You know it’s bad when a supposed ally promotes his book by likening Dawkins to a famous game show host! And keep in mind that promo has been up for weeks on amazon, indicating Coyne has felt no pressing need to get this corrected.
Makes ya wonder – is Coyne trying to exploit Dawkins’ troubles to position himself as the new Leader of the Gnus? lol
Okay, on a more serious note, we’ll have to take a look at Coyne’s latest attempt to cash in on the New Atheist Movement.
Well, well, well. Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham has been banned. As you can see, it was banned in California.
Quick! Someone needs to contact scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson about this. As a champion of Enlightenment values such as free thought and free expression, as well as equality for all, I’m sure Tyson would be happy to use his big microphone to defend these values. Tyson could also use the story as part of some pro-science/anti-religion message, I’m sure.
While some aspects of the story might not perfectly fit his agenda, Tyson could add to it – perhaps telling people that George Bush once tried to get Green Eggs and Ham banned. And the Skeptics in the audience would laugh.
Getting a little tired of the Gnu Show, so I thought I’d take a break with a little cellular biology. Below is a documentary from the BBC back in 2012 that uses computer animations to illustrate what happens during a viral infection. It’s about 60 minutes long. And very good.
Posted in Science
Harris was asked: Was it the drug Ecstasy that opened up spirituality for you?
And he replied:
It definitely was. I wouldn’t call that the true experience of self-transcendence that is the focus of the book, but it was profoundly liberating. It convinced me it was possible to have a much better life and be a much better person, and some action was required to figure out how to be more that way more of the time.
It amuses me to watch Harris attribute such great significance to getting high. But I’m left wondering why meditation, and not mind-altering drugs, are considered the “true experience.” What criteria does Harris use to determine what is the “true experience?”
As we all know, New Atheist leaders love to bash Christians as being “anti-woman” (largely because of the abortion issue) while posturing as Defenders of Women’s Rights. Well……Amanda Marcotte recently posted a devastating analysis of the New Atheist leaders:
Many of the most prominent leaders of the New Atheism are quick to express deeply sexist ideas.
Marcotte first talks about Sam Harris:
His reaction to the criticism, which was immediate and probably a bit overwhelming was not, however, a demonstration of the tough “critical posture” he characterized as “instrinsically male.” Harris replied to his criticswith a hyper-defensive and tediously long blog post titled, “I’m Not The Sexist Pig You’re Looking For.” His strategy for disproving accusations of sexism was to engage in more sexist declarations, in the time-honored bigot strategy of saying it’s not bigotry if it’s true.
First, he warmed up with the “women are humorless” gambit, declaring his “estrogen vibe” comment a joke that simply flew over female heads. He then moved on to produce an awesome cornucopia of sexist blather….
The internet is full of self-promoters. Either they are trying to make money or trying to jockey for a lead position in some movement (or both). Some of the self-promoters try to make themselves look like more of an expert or scholar than they are. I’ll call this scholariness. This is because they know that if others view them as a scholar or expert, they will be perceived as an authority. And such perception enhances their efforts at self-promotion, and/or the promotion of their social and/or political agenda.
For example, imagine there is some guy named George Hershey who has become obsessed with changing the country’s tax policies. Let’s say that George has a B.S. in Economics, works as a realtor, and has set up a web page to promote his political views and ideas about taxation. Problem is that George Hershey is just another guy with a college degree and an opinion about taxes. He needs something more. So George promotes himself as “Professor of Public Policy, The Institute of Eco-Analysis.” Yet it turns out that George created The Institute of Eco-Analysis and runs it from his basement computer and he is a professor in the sense that he sells tapes of himself lecturing about taxes and other things. This is scholariness.
Tyson ends his “apology” by patting himself on the back:
If I were to rank the top twenty things I love to do, giving public talks would not make the cut. What does? Doing scientific research. Writing books. Playing with my kids. Having a play-date with my wife. Eating homemade very-buttery popcorn while watching a movie curled up on the couch with the family. Reading antiquarian science books. Taking notes for my next book with quill and fountain pens by candlelight. Attending Broadway plays and musicals. Listening to jazz and classical music. Drinking malted milkshakes. Cooking dinners that are fancier than the day of the week deserves. Drinking a bottle of wine that is just a little more expensive than can be realistically justified. And cooking & eating waffles for breakfast. e.g. http://www.reddit.com/r/photoshopbattles/comments/28yjr2/neil_degrasse_tyson_making_himself_a_waffle/
I nonetheless continue give talks because, knowing what I know about the physical universe – and our place within it – I’d be socially irresponsible if I did not.
Does anyone out there believe this? Anyone? The longsuffering Neil deGrasse Tyson would rather be listening to jazz or drinking malted milkshakes than taking the stage to give a talk?
If you have not watched the video of Tyson telling his tall tale about George Bush, I encourage you to watch it:
That clearly looks like a man who is enjoying every moment of being the center of attention.
And the reason he sacrifices so much is because of his noble and mighty sense of social responsibility? Is that believable?
Now, we can expect the Tyson Faithful to lap this up, given they’ve shown themselves to be gullible rubes when it comes to their Idol. But those of us who value critical thinking are left with a question – Is Tyson really sacrificing or is he financially compensated for those sacrificial talks?