Delusions about faith and reason

I like it when Gnu leaders actually try to define their favorite words.  For example, when Jerry Coyne defined science for us, we got to see he was morphing back and forth between two different definitions. Sneaky, sneaky. Now, he is going to tell us about faith and reason:

No we dont have faith in reason and science in the same way as “Cru” members have faith in God. I see “faith” according to Walter Kaufmann’s definition: strong belief in propositions for which there is insufficient evidence to command the assent of every reasonable person.

Well, that’s how I see faith also.  I think Coyne thinks I’m supposed to be seeing faith as some form of “let’s pretend!”  He is, after all, a man who needs his straw men.

 We have confidence in science because it has led us to provisional truths—it works.

Sure.  But it doesn’t work when it comes to telling us whether or not God exists, unless, of course, you build your worldview on God-of-the-Gaps arguments.  We can tell it doesn’t work by the simple fact that neither Coyne, nor Myers, nor Dawkins have conducted a single scientific experiment to determine if God exists and published their results.

Cru doesn’t even know if there’s any God, or, if there is a divine presence, that it’s the Abrahamic god rather than the Hindu god, Yahweh, or Wotan.

Yes, I don’t know.  But Christianity works for me.


And we use reason in the same way: it leads us to truth.  Revelation, dogma, and authority do not, for if they did there would be only one religion rather than thousands with their disparate and often conflicting doctrines.

This one is funny.  When I look at the atheist community, I see all sorts of disparate and often conflicting doctrines.  Recently, I highlighted this fact with the atheist infighting about guns.   So what’s the truth here, Jerry?  And what about the ever ongoing debate about feminism and atheism?  Instead of ignoring its existence, why doesn’t Coyne use reason to show the whole atheist community the truth about this issue?  Well?

I’m always amazed by how the Gnu atheists think they have some form of intellectually superior outlook on the world when in reality, they wallow in delusions about themselves and others.

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10 Responses to Delusions about faith and reason

  1. Crude says:

    I sometimes wonder if Coyne is starting to have a crisis of atheist faith when I read screeds like this. He seems now and then to be less the confident atheist warrior, more the guy struggling and scrambling to defend a position he thinks has taken on far more water than he ever expected it to.

  2. M. Rodriguez says:

    really feminism and atheism are not at odds with each other, because that is like comparing apples and oranges. The are too completely different issues. One is womans rights, and another is lack of beliefs.

    Other than that how can you say that there are doctrinal differences in atheism?

  3. Crude says:

    really feminism and atheism are not at odds with each other, because that is like comparing apples and oranges. The are too completely different issues.

    First, you should really let PZ Myers and company know, because they happen to think that the atheist movement and feminism (a very specific kind of feminism, even) are quite related.

    Second, you miss Mike’s point: atheists have been at each other’s throats over a host of issues, including the feminist issue. Why doesn’t Coyne just ‘use reason’, show the truth of the matter, and end the discussion once and for all? Why doesn’t that happen with Harris’ gun stance? Why can’t PZ Myers and Coyne settle their differences over what would constitute evidence for God using reason?

    Why, it’s almost as if they either don’t know how to use it, or it can’t settle a variety of contentious issues.

  4. Michael says:


    You don’t seem to understand that there are many atheists who insist atheism is more than a lack of belief in God.

  5. Tim Lambert says:

    M. Rodriguez,

    Atheism is not a “lack of belief”, it’s very much a belief regarding the metaphysical nature of reality.
    That’s like saying believing there is no soda in the refridgerator is a lack of belief…. it’s not a lack of belief, it’s a representative mental state with respects to a belief concerning the contents of the fridge. Not a “lack of belief” in the least.

  6. M. Rodriguez says:

    really when u visit those FTB blog sights their arguement is not over the doctrines or philosophies of atheism, they argue over the activism of atheism.

  7. Michael says:

    Yet activism flows from doctrines or philosophies. Or did you think it just poofed into existence?

  8. Tim Lambert says:

    How can something that is truly “a lack of belief” motivate any activism?

  9. Crude says:

    How can something that is truly “a lack of belief” motivate any activism?

    Clearly we’re misunderstanding. It’s not activism. It’s the mere lack of non-activism.

    Totally different thing from activism.

  10. Justin says:

    Eh, it’s the Defense From Confusion argument. If you define away atheism, then you don’t have to defend it.

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